Time to tighten rules on aid when poverty is rife at home

From: Mr D Birch, Smithy Lane, Cookridge, Leeds.

LOTS of people in this country including myself are getting more worried over the very large amount of money we give under the banner of aid. It appears to be never ending and almost every week we appear to give more, more so with all the problems 
we have with the poor in this country – some of whom are in dire straits and are having to use food banks.

In all my lifetime I have never seen food banks and I am ashamed to see them on television, needed to feed the poor and their families.

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I know some of the aid from government goes to the NGOs who as with the Red Cross do a wonderful job along with the millions of pounds raised by the population on Children in Need etc.

As far as Government money goes, when we give it as aid we have no idea where the money goes or where it is spent. Or, when it is spent, does it get 
spent in other countries on goods and services that we could supply?

Even the Commonwealth countries don’t appear to spend some of it here. They appeared to spend large amounts here in London at the Olympics or was it a bit of theirs and a lot of ours? Maybe they still have the impression we are still a rich country going back to when we were an Empire?

Or maybe it’s because some of them are able to buy the new Land Rovers and the Jaguars which of course we don’t own any more and don’t even manufacture.

We just build them with everything, or most of it, being manufactured elsewhere.

We really do have a big need to kick start our industry. Without it this is where a bulk of the benefits go. Not to the workshy, who this Government seems to think takes the bulk of it.

Their part is minimal and we wouldn’t be worrying about the amount of aid and for a lot of our poor having to go looking for food handouts.

So, as I have said for many years, we need to know what our aid is buying. If its for goods or services etc. we should be aiming for our own industry to be able to supply it. How do we do it? Relatively simple, but it can’t be done today.

Our Foreign Office has embassies in the countries we send aid to. They have to find out just what our money will be spent on. Report back to the Foreign Office and along with government. They have to supply the money to our own manufacturers and services etc. who will supply directly to the recipient government and invoice the government, who will pay the bill out of our aid account. Checks could be made easily by civil servants or local councils that the supplier was acting legitimately and checks by our embassies would check on delivery. Any misuse and the contract by supplier and the recipient of the aid and it’s cancelled and made public.

As I have said, it can’t be done overnight. But we need manufacturing and jobs and this is one way when everyone benefits. The government spends its billions of aid and the recipients in this country pay taxes. Plus, industry should be able to export more goods rather than importing.