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Overseas Aid Budget

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BBC News - Liam Fox challenges government overseas aid pledge

I may be being obtuse but what is the money actually for?

I know the official line is something to do with the compassion of the British people or something... but when I think of the British Government the first word that comes to mind isn't 'compassionate'.

So why is it such a spending priority?

This isn't a complaint about foreign aid because it's not the money I have a problem with (although it is a lot) but what is the result? What does 12bn actually get you these days? Does anyone know?

"British aid offers great value to the taxpayer," [Oxfam's] chief executive Barbara Stocking said. "For little more than a penny in the tax pound we not only help those in need but also boost our standing in the world and increase our influence in the global corridors of power."

Suddenly I begin to wonder what an Oxfam employee knows about Britain improving its standings in the 'global corridors of power'.

Any insight appreciated.

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I agree putting that arbitrary figure into law amongst spending cuts everywhere else is ridiculous (read the article). The quote from the Oxfam CEO is also laughable. Where foreign aid is concerned the numbers shouldn't matter, it's where the money goes that counts, and the article and that quote give no specifics. Looking at the top ten recipients of UK foreign aid, I'd guess most of it goes towards gated mansions and SUVs and generally bankrolling corrupt governments. I'm also pretty sceptical about how it can "increase our influence in the global corridors of power".

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