Over 70 per cent of the public think that Britain spends too much on international aid, but only 38 per cent think that spending money from the UK’s aid budget on peacekeeping and other defence-related projects is right.
Some 2011 people were quizzed by ComRes on the news that Prime Minister David Cameron was considering reassigning funding from the Department of International Development to defence.
Around 71 per cent of respondents said that the government spent too much on international aid – Britain currently spends £10bn a year on foreign aid, which amounts to 0.6 per cent of the national income.
Further, 64 per cent said that the UK should no longer give international aid to India.
However, only 38 per cent of those quizzed think that the government is right to consider spending money from the UK’s aid budget on peacekeeping and other defence-related projects. But almost the same amount of people – 35 per cent – think that the government is right to consider spending some of the aid budget on defence.
Over half (57 per cent) think that international aid money should be spent on projects related to education, poverty and fighting disease rather than defence.
Responding to the findings, Carolyn Miller, chief executive at Merlin, said the NGO community had to focus its efforts on showing that aid money is well spent:
“Merlin is well known and loved by our supporters who, because they know how wisely we spend UK aid money, do not, I think make up the majority of those who want to see investment significantly reduced or changed. The more people know about the long term benefits of our work and that of other NGOs supported so generously by governments, the more they will see that this tiny proportion of national income is making a huge difference. The NGO community must continue to focus efforts showing aid money is well spent. The success stories are there, they just need more oxygen and attention.”
Alice Allan, head of advocacy at international development charity Care International added:
“The international community recommended that countries should spend a minimum of 0.7 per cent GNP on aid 40 years ago. The UK, whilst committed, still hasn’t met this target. There are 170 million people around the world suffering from malnutrition, and more than one billion people live on less than a dollar a day, so even though we are experiencing tough times in Britain, it is right that we meet our aid commitments.”
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