Ashcroft Tells Osborne: End Aid Ringfencing

Strong words of advice from Lord Ashcroft ahead of the Budget. Citing the UKIP threat, he tells the Chancellor:

“It is time to remove the ringfence around the International Development budget and end the commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on aid.

It is sometimes said that the commitment to the aid spending target shows Britain’s compassion as a nation. But whatever its merits or otherwise, spending taxpayers’ money on aid has nothing to do with compassion. People show compassion by giving of what they have, of their own accord. If people want to support charities that provide real help to those in need, I admire them. But governments cannot be “compassionate” with money they have confiscated from their citizens on pain of prison.

The Department for International Development budget is increasing by an amazing 50 per cent over this parliament. It is one of only two Whitehall ministries whose staff numbers are growing. Even for those who defend overseas aid in principle, it is hard to argue that spending on it should rise at this rate at a time when spending at home is being cut. Yet this policy remains the orthodoxy among the three main parties, even though most people disagree with it. I do not claim that many people are turning to UKIP, or saying they will not vote, simply because of the aid policy itself – but Westminster consensus in the face of public opposition is the kind of thing that many voters find exasperating and drives them to look for alternatives or give up on politics altogether.”

This two days after Fox called for ringfencing to be evaluated, and Dave saying he would do no such thing. When you think of Indian spacemen and sending aid to Mars, you can see their point…




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Quote of the Day

David Cowling, the BBC’s head of political research, in an internal memo…

“It seems to me that the London bubble has to burst if there is to be any prospect of addressing the issues that have brought us to our current situation. There are many millions of people in the UK who do not enthuse about diversity and do not embrace metropolitan values yet do not consider themselves lesser human beings for all that. Until their values and opinions are acknowledged and respected, rather than ignored and despised, our present discord will persist. Because these discontents run very wide and very deep and the metropolitan political class, confronted by them, seems completely bewildered and at a loss about how to respond (“who are these ghastly people and where do they come from?” doesn’t really hack it). The 2016 EU referendum has witnessed the cashing in of some very bitter bankable grudges but I believe that, throughout this 2016 campaign, Europe has been the shadow not the substance.”

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