British MPs reject call to scrap aid spending target

14 Jun 16

British MPs yesterday gave support to the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of its national income overseas.

A debate, triggered by an online petition started by a UK newspaper, quickly allayed fears that the government would reverse 2015 legislation that enshrines the amount the UK spends on foreign aid in national law.

While the newspaper’s petition did receive a strong response from the public, collecting more than 150,000 signatures in its first week, the majority of MPs from across the political spectrum voiced their support for the spending target in the chamber yesterday.

Steve Double, a Conservative MP, said: “Although I acknowledge the right of those who signed the petition and understand the strong feeling many people hold regarding this issue, I respectfully disagree with them.

“The UK has a proud history of playing a leading part on the global state and assisting countries that are desperately in need. That is something we should continue to do.”

While the debate did not question the continuation of the 0.7% spending target, a United Nations commitment dating back to the 1970s, concerns were raised about how the money is spent.

Criticisms from UK newspaper the Daily Mail surrounding UK aid to Palestine, which the paper claims ends up in the hands of terrorists, were touched on, with some MPs disagreeing on the credibility of the allegations.

However the consensus was that in Palestine and elsewhere, UK aid could be more effective and transparent, but is nevertheless valuable and should be maintained.

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