Joined: 03 Jun 2005
|Posted: Sat Dec 03, 2011 9:53 am Post subject: NOW THEY WANT A LAW FOR FOREIGN AID, WHAT ABOUT US
|Now a law for foreign aid! Ministers want to commit Britain to billions in handoutsPromise to spend 0.7 per cent of national income
Dozens of Tory MPs expected to oppose the move
By Tim Shipman
Last updated at 9:47 AM on 3rd December 2011
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell wants to introduce controversial legislation over aid
Ministers are in secret talks to enshrine in law the Government’s promise to spend 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid.
International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is demanding Parliamentary time to introduce the controversial legislation.
Officials from his department are in talks with Tory whips and Leader of the House Sir George Young to ensure the Bill is passed.
Sources say Tory chiefs are also discussing the plan with Labour whips to ensure that the Opposition backs the changes, since they expect dozens of Tory MPs to oppose the move.
The pledge to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on foreign aid has led to claims that David Cameron has put the interests of foreign countries – many of which can afford to spend heavily on their military or even space programmes – ahead of British taxpayers.
This comes at the end of a week in which Chancellor George Osborne spelled out to the British public the scale of the financial crisis facing the country, and the need for cuts and austerity for many years to come.
The Coalition has already committed itself to ring-fencing just two budgets – foreign aid and the NHS.
One source said Mr Mitchell was keen to push the Bill through quickly.
‘The Department for International Development is actively looking for a slot in the timetable.
'Andrew is keen to get moving on this,’ a Government source said.
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‘He wants to make sure it happens in their session of Parliament.’
That would mean holding a vote over the next three months.
A Labour source said: ‘They have been sounding us out about whether we would back them.
Tough times: David Cameron is accused of putting the interests of foreign countries ahead of British taxpayers
'It’s clearly not the most popular policy with their own MPs.’
Some ministers believe the pledge to enshrine the 0.7 per cent in law, which is in the Coalition agreement, will be easier to enact after Mr Osborne this week made clear he would not let the figure go any higher.
Since economic growth has been much slower than expected, he announced that he would be reducing the amount of cash going to DfID to ensure it does not exceed 0.7 per cent.
That means around £1.2billion less will be spent on overseas aid over the next three years.
But many Tory MPs regard the plans as an expensive luxury that is largely pointless since it is a long-established principle that no government can bind the hands of its successors, meaning that the law could simply be overturned in future.
Tory Peter Bone said: ‘First of all, the reduction announced by the Chancellor is only a small reduction in the massive increase.
‘The current level of spending £8billion a year is an enormous amount.
'To add another £4billion when there are real problems at home seems to me to be absolutely bonkers.
‘It will be a sad state of affairs if they’re talking to the Labour Party rather than to their own parliamentary colleagues over this issue and are seeking to drive something through Parliament using Labour votes because they don’t have any support on their own side.’
A senior Downing Street source played down the prospect of an early push for a vote: ‘It’s unlikely that it will be done in this session.
'It all boils down to Parliamentary time, and it’s not something anyone is fretting about apart from Andrew.’
These idiots are completely out of touch with British public opinion and they know it, the problem is they do not give a damn. When will we get a government that listens too and puts the British people first?
Yes i agree with foreign aid, GIVE THE FOREIGNERS WHO ARE HERE MONEY TO BUGGER OFF AND DONT COME BACK, nut cases everyone, the sooner we get this "nose in the trough scum" out of power the better for the British people