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International aid commitment ‘to be applauded’ but government should look again at how budget is allocated

Monday 13 June 2016

Commenting on the forthcoming Westminster Hall debate about the government’s commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid, Adam Pickering, International Policy Manager at the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF), said:

"Scrutiny of how the international aid budget is spent should be welcomed not feared.  But it is important that we properly weigh any scepticism against the collective actions of people in the UK.

"With more than £1 in every £10 we donate going to overseas causes there are clearly those who believe even more needs to be done to address global need.

"Whilst some might prefer our overseas budget be used to tackle problems at home, the reality is that in an increasingly globalised world we have a vested interest in spreading British values of freedom, tolerance and equality. 

"As the Government has explicitly stated, tackling global challenges is very much in the national interest and this includes action to ensure peaceful and sustainable development across the world from which we can all benefit. 

"We welcome that ethos and the Government's continued commitment to meeting our target of spending 0.7% of GDP on international aid is to be applauded.

"However, more can be done to ensure that our aid strategy is aligned with the treatment of charities domestically. 

"Policies such as the Lobbying Act and anti-advocacy clause are hard to reconcile with our promotion of democratic values globally and it is also legitimate to question whether expanding the scope of UK aid to include some military spending is advisable in the long term. 

"The Government should look again at the allocation of the aid budget to ensure that the principles underpinning our proud commitment to our international obligations are met by how it operates in practice."

NOTES TO EDITORS

1 The Westminster Hall debate this afternoon follows a petition launched by the Mail On Sunday.

2 Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) is a leading international charity which helps people and businesses give to causes they care about and provides financial services for charities. The CAF Global Alliance includes nine offices covering six continents which help people and business support charities in more than 100 countries worldwide.

3 CAF’s UK Giving report includes a breakdown of the types of causes people in the UK donate to. It found that in 2015, 11% of individual donations made by people in the UK went to overseas aid and disaster relief: https://www.cafonline.org/about-us/publications/2016-publications/uk-giving-report-2015

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