Labour slashes £1bn from overseas aid budget

by Stephen Tall on November 20, 2007

That’s the rather shameful story which Lib Dem overseas development spokeswoman Lynne Featherstone has uncovered – and, what’s worse, the Government has hidden this budget cut from view.

You can read Lynne’s blog article in full here, but here’s the nub:

[Labour have] axed around £1 billion from the UK aid budget (official development assistance) – and then tried to keep it secret. … having promised in 2004 that aid levels would be at 0.47% in 2007-8, they’ve now cut that figure to 0.37% – which is equal to around £1 billion.

As it was an international development debate in Parliament today, I raised the issue of this missing £1 billion which would have gone to help the poorest in the world.

And what did Douglas Alexander have to say? Well, nothing much. He just dodged the issue of spending levels here in 2007-8.

Not impressed! If you’re going to cut a billion like that Mr Alexander – at least have the guts to admit it and defend it in public rather than dodging around and talking about other spending levels in other years.

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2 comments

The budget is of course growing pretty rapidly and aiming at a moving target. It’s somewhere around three times the 1997 figure in real terms. If Lynne is correct on the % versus the target this is worth pointing out of course. But she would have done well to acknowledge the huge growth that has occurred and the UK’s international lead in this sphere.

Is she still having it both ways on Chelsea Tractors?

by Chris Paul on November 20, 2007 at 1:38 pm. Reply #

Nice try, Chris, but no cigar. It is simply and clearly another broken promise from Labour.

by Woodpecker on November 20, 2007 at 1:50 pm. Reply #

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