Thursday, June 10, 2021

Full Fact confirms Boris Johnson was speaking the truth about Foreign Aid

There is more to be said in favour of the positions of both sides in the argument about Foreign Aid than some on each side would allow.

Firstly, what the government is proposing is not, as some have alleged, illegal. 

The legislation requiring the government to aim to spend 0.7% of GDP on Foreign aid covers the possibility that there may be circumstances why in a particular year this does not happen. If the target is missed the government must present a report to parliament explaining why -  a "substantial change" in national income is given as an example of a possible reason - and what it proposes to do to put matters right the following year.

A brief summary on the House of Commons library website of the issue can be found here.

If the worst recession in 300 years combined with one of the largest ever falls in national income does not count as a "substantial change" for the purpose of the act, it is difficult to see what would be. Those who suggest that the government proposes to drop the share spent on aid this year from 0.7% of 0.5% of GDP this year, are, in my humble opinion, in the wrong.

At the same time, I was not impressed when some outriders for the hard right on social media accused those Conservative MPs who want to stick to the 0.7% target of going against the "will of the people."

I really cannot see that wanting to keep the manifesto promises on which you have been elected at three of the last four elections is going against the will of the electorate.

Personally I can reluctantly see why the proposal to drop Britain's Foreign aid from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP for a temporary period has come forward but nobody will be happier than me if an honourable compromise can be found to prevent this or limit it to as short a time as possible.

The "Full Fact" fact checking site has looked at the comments made by the PM on this subject, to the effect that the present government has spent more on foreign aid than any previous Labour government.  and has concluded that those comments were true.

They wrote:

"On Wednesday, the Prime Minister said that this government has spent more on aid than Labour governments did in the past.

He also said that the government was continuing to spend more—even with its planned reduction of the aid budget from 0.7% to 0.5% of national income.

This is essentially true, with some minor caveats.

UK foreign aid has grown

Since the late 2000s, the UK has spent much more on foreign aid than it used to—both in terms of cash, and as a share of the national income.

So the Conservative-led governments since 2010 have certainly spent more on aid than any previous Labour government, and more than any previous Conservative government too."

 

You can read the full assessment by Full Fact here.

1 comment:

Chris Whiteside said...

I have removed a comment from someone who didn't sign their name to their post. Check your facts properly before you cast aspersions on anyone else - and have the guts to sign your name to what you write.