Andrew Bridgen, the Member of Parliament for North West Leicestershire, has called for better use of foreign aid spending aimed at supporting the poorest people in the world.
Speaking during an interview on the BBC’s Newsnight program Mr Bridgen spoke about the Government’s decision to reduce overseas aid as a result of the coronavirus pandemic from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5% saying:
“As a Conservative I’m interested in the efficacy not only of vaccines but also of Government policy, it seems slightly bizarre that we measure the effectiveness of our aid budget not in outcomes – what we deliver with our aid – but just purely on how much taxpayer’s money we can throw at it.
“There are many tragedies that go on in the world not all of them can fall on the shoulders of the UK taxpayer.”
Official estimates suggest that the reduction in foreign aid spending will still see £10.9 billion pounds spent in 2021, down from £14.5 billion last year.
Mr Bridgen added:
“The generosity of the British public is legendary but let’s think about the 0.7% aid budget. That was sold to me by David Cameron on the basis that if we adopted that and delivered it for the first time that we would shame other developed nations into matching our generosity and history shows that just isn’t true.
“We’ve cut down to 0.5%, which is still considerably higher than most other countries but you need to bear in mind that we are in a worldwide pandemic and thanks to the generosity of the UK taxpayer we are delivering in the UK the Oxford AstraZeneca at cost, four dollar a dose, which is 6 times cheaper than most of its competitors.”