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Why are we preserving foreign aid when we're so in debt? Watch

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    This is a serious question! Politics and economics are not my field.

    I keep reading in the paper that all these cuts are being made, which makes sense given how much debt we're in. But foreign aid, along with the NHS and education are being protected. Why are we still paying out foreign aid when we're in crisis? Is it an obligation?

    I'm aware that other countries are worse off than us but in the immortal words of Tesco, every little helps right?


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    We feel we have an ethical obligation to people who are in extreme poverty.
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    Why is it so important for us to preserve foreign aid, if we're hardly seeing the benefits back?
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    (Original post by Budgie)
    We feel we have an ethical obligation to people who are in extreme poverty.
    That's ok, but please correct me if I'm wrong but if we had enough money we wouldn't have borrowed right?
    So the fact we're in debt means we haven't got any money. So how can we give money way if we don't have enough?

    I'm a biologist/chemist. I'm not big on finance so would genuinely like to be enlightened!


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    (Original post by Budgie)
    We feel we have an ethical obligation to people who are in extreme poverty.
    This (and it perhaps allows British companies to get their 'feet' in the door?)

    I do think our aid budget could be better used/proportioned. Why were we still sending money to India up until a year ago for example? :confused:
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    (Original post by James A)
    Exactly, a quarter of our debt could be wiped out if we stopped giving foreign aid completely.

    Why is it so important for us to preserve foreign aid, if we're hardly seeing the benefits back?
    Really? We give £10bn foreign aid of year and our debt is in excess of £1tn. Does make anywhere near 1/4 by my maths. It might cover 1/4 of our interest payments, sort of.
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    As a foreigner here in the UK, I have to say I wondered about that too :confused:
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    (Original post by doggyfizzel)
    Really? We give £10bn foreign aid of year and our debt is in excess of £1tn. Does make anywhere near 1/4 by my maths. It might cover 1/4 of our interest payments, sort of.
    It's still something though. And £10bn isn't a small amount of money. Can't other wealthy countries that aren't in debt give poor places money for a bit while we get out of debt?


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    The UK government spent £683 billion pounds in 2012.

    Foreign spending accounted for £8.5 billion.

    Foreign aid accounts for 1.2% of our our expeniture getting rid of it may make a small dent in the deficit but wouldn't come close to make a dent in the debt.

    Plus for the money we spend some of the people who need help can get it. We can't solve all the worlds problems on our own but we can help.

    It really baffles me why people get so worked up about foreign aid, when it is such a small part of our expenditure.
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    1. There is actually no reason to reduce the debt, it is an ideology wheeled out to defend the indefensible like welfare cuts and attrition of workers' rights.
    2. We give foreign aid as a bribe to dictators so they will give us more of their oil or allow our companies to set up in their countries to exploit their workers, resources and lack of regulation.
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    (Original post by Beckyweck)
    It's still something though. And £10bn isn't a small amount of money. Can't other wealthy countries that aren't in debt give poor places money for a bit while we get out of debt?
    It may sound a bit ridiculous but in econmic terms 10bn actually is a fairly small amount of money, it is a very small percentage of NHS and Benefit spend. In Q4 2012 the national debt amounted to about £1,400. billion, again roughly that equates to national debt increasing about 121 bn per annum, which comes down to about 2bn per week.... That's national debt increasing by roughly 2bn a week... So 10bn just isn't that much.

    So why spend on foreign aid.... A common misconception is that aid equates to food for the poor... It isn't just about bags of rice and flour.... It's about supporting the development of infrastructure in foreign countires. (I'm keeping this at a very high level but can always go into more detail, this is a starting point) A vast majority of the natural resources in the world are found in less economically developed countries throughout Africa, India etc (and actually China has vast naturual reserves that the west doesn't have access to).

    The supply of foreign aid can be to increase local ability to produce these products and therefore be more willing to sell to the west. China itself pumps a vast amount of money to develop infrastructure in Western Africa to allow access to their resources.
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    Foreign aid accounts for 1% of all government spending (Source) and that includes our contributions toward the World Bank. I'm sure there are legitimate arguments against the current way in which it is given out but I don't think "we need to cut the deficit" is one of them.
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    There are arguments that it helps us in the long-run as it builds up relations and builds up their wealth to buy our goods in future years. It's a weak argument.

    What is a much stronger argument is how much worse off they are. Out of human compassion, we should work with these less fortunate people to get them to an acceptable standard of living. We may be having our troubles, but they are troubles relative to our fortunate position and not even slightly comparable to the problems of others.

    There are a lot of myths about how poorly aid is spent, there's been a greater focus on effectiveness in the coalition - not that aid hasn't been effective anyway.
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    (Original post by noneofthemknew)
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    Finally someone else that is aware of this!
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    There is a moral issue here. We share humanity. It is not unreasonable to give a tiny proportion of our income to help people achieve things like basic education and being able to feed themselves.

    The deficit is about £100bn, foreign aid about £10bn. It would remove about 10% of the deficit, and have absolutely no effect on the national debt.
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    That's because a good deal of it is not actually 'aid', but more - you scratch my back I'll scratch yours.

    Why do we give so much to India? Geopolitically India has become very important to the West - on the borders of China and Pakistan, close to the sea lanes that supply oil to the West. It's the largest democracy in the world and one which we have a long alliance with. It's growing at an extremely fast rate (but still less than China) and we want a piece of the pie.

    The sad thing is that none of this aid will ever get to the hands of the people who need it the most in these countries.
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    (Original post by Beckyweck)
    It's still something though. And £10bn isn't a small amount of money. Can't other wealthy countries that aren't in debt give poor places money for a bit while we get out of debt?


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    We aren't going to get out of debt. We might reduce the debt, but we aren't going to get out of it. Have a look around the world, pretty much every nation is in debt, most by more than us. £10bn is a drop in the ocean of our overall spending, the only reason its being looked at is because its easy, it doesn't require any effort of reform. The spending issues that cause us to run a deficit will still go on.
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    Life and welfare is more important than money - money is only a means to these things.

    Edit: apparently a lot of people prefer money over life and welfare. Each to their own I guess.
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    (Original post by James A)
    Exactly, a quarter of our debt could be wiped out if we stopped giving foreign aid completely.

    Why is it so important for us to preserve foreign aid, if we're hardly seeing the benefits back?
    because were not selfish, our living conditions are amazing compared to countries we give aid too, you are very selfish
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    (Original post by doggyfizzel)
    Really? We give £10bn foreign aid of year and our debt is in excess of £1tn. Does make anywhere near 1/4 by my maths. It might cover 1/4 of our interest payments, sort of.
    I dunno, I heard it over the radio (LBC), maybe Nick Ferrari was talking nonsense as usual :lol:
 
 
 
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