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how the UK can give away £12 billion in foreign aid when it apparently has such a huge debt/deficit?

(33 Posts)
ophelia275 Sun 04-Nov-12 14:19:29

I just don't understand how it is possible to give away money you don't have?

Surely it is like someone who is bankrupt or owes all their creditors lots of money, giving charity £100s of pounds they can't afford?

Why is the government cutting so many services/benefits here in the UK if it can afford to send £12 billion abroad? How does this benefit the UK? How does it eradicate the debt? Sounds like lunatics (MP's) are running the asylum (Houses of Parliament).

Can somebody that is financially/politically savvy please explain how it is possible to give away money you don't apparently have, as I am genuinely puzzled?

Moodykat Sun 04-Nov-12 14:21:19

I wondered this too. Where are we getting the money from? (I am clueless about this sort of thing!)

Gigondas Sun 04-Nov-12 14:24:25

I think one of pledges when did the whole cuts package was that certain things wouldn't be cut which included the budget for foreign aid. So it's a political decision that we carry on spending it (albeit a controversial one).

kim147 Sun 04-Nov-12 14:24:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Sun 04-Nov-12 14:38:34

Foreign aid saves money. Hungry desperate peoples result in wars, instability, increased migration and illegal immigration amongst other things. Also, some of these countries wouldn't be in the desperate positions they are now in if they didn't have a history of being raped and pillaged by Britain (and other prosperous western nations).

Savonarola Sun 04-Nov-12 14:39:45

The Guardian says the aid budget is £7.6b and this article puts the case for continuing international aid.

Remember, even in debt crisis, UK is unimaginably rich by standards for so many people round the world. If you agree that the rich have the broadest shoulders and should bear most of the burden, then it follows that you'd agree with UK demonstrating this globally.

attheendoftheday Sun 04-Nov-12 14:51:46

I agree with Savonarola. She puts it better than I could.

Goldmandra Sun 04-Nov-12 14:58:34

What Savonarola says.

DoingTheBestICan Sun 04-Nov-12 15:03:39

I absolutely agree that all rich countries should help poorer countries but what i dont agree with is how it is distributed then on.
For instance,how can we send so much money to India when they are wealthy enough to plan space travel to Mars? Surely there should be some degree of wealth distribution in their own country?

Dragonwoman Sun 04-Nov-12 15:10:13

Firstly, although we have debt we are not bankrupt. Things would be a hell of a lot worse than this if we were!
Secondly - foreign aid in many cases is not just aid- it's a way of buying co-operation and influence worldwide. It can also ensure contracts abroad for British firms. Whether you agree with these motives is another argument, but we don't just give money away when we send foreign aid - we are buying something with the money.

nowwearefour Sun 04-Nov-12 15:18:45

Because they need it far far more than we do.

threesocksfortheguy Sun 04-Nov-12 15:30:07

I do not get how we can cut money and services for the most vulnerable in our society, yet send money top the most vulnerable in other countries.
if we are so rich!! then we do not need to make these cuts.

digerd Sun 04-Nov-12 15:33:36


Always wondered from where/whom we have borrowed those billions which has caused our debt. So do you you know who from/from where?

MrsMiniversCharlady Sun 04-Nov-12 15:35:05

There's a school of thought that the deficit doesn't matter The linked article is about America but the author states that it holds true for the UK true.

I'm sure a whole bunch of people will claim he's a crackpot, but his book makes a fair bit of sense (to me and a bunch of other Guardian-reading liberals grin)

kim147 Sun 04-Nov-12 15:43:58

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

stargirl1701 Sun 04-Nov-12 15:53:06

It is not a significant portion of our GDP. It's the right thing to do. We are a very rich country. Even with the cuts every single person has free healthcare. Every child has free education. Every person wanting it is given free, emergency housing. These things are unimaginable in most African nations.

I think we need to rethink aid to India and Pakistan. If countries wish to spend money on nuclear weapons and space programmes rather than take care of their citizens then that is there choice but we should support that decision. These are democracies - citizens can vote for parties that do not wish to waste precious investment on first world projects.

digerd Sun 04-Nov-12 15:55:44

Thanks Kim
It just seems like a whole lot of dodgy wheeling and dealing to me.So many countries are said to be in debt, so who can afford to invest in any country that itself is in billions of debt? Perhaps it's the rich Shieks that are investing so that we don't all gang up and wage war on them to steal their oil !!

kim147 Sun 04-Nov-12 15:58:06

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Hamishbear Sun 04-Nov-12 15:59:28

'The danger is when people won't lend is money anymore' indeed, Kim, both here and in the US. Hopefully it won't get to that. It's a concern, the US is now the largest debtor nation in the history of the world & the West in terminal decline.

Cozy9 Sun 04-Nov-12 16:02:51

Foreign aid should be abolished. Countries can't keep blaming the west for all their problems. At what point does that end and we put the onus on countries to get their own shit in order?

Goldmandra Sun 04-Nov-12 16:19:15

Absolutely Cozy9. Your name says it all.

Let's leave everyone else's babies to die for want of clean water and vaccinations.

As long as we're all nice and cozy on our privileged little island the world is as it should be.

We should all be giving a lot more, including the Goldmandra household, but we don't because we like our lifestyle and are not willing to make the massive changes which would be needed to make the world a fairer place sad

EmmelineGoulden Sun 04-Nov-12 16:20:24

Government bonds (i.e. debt) are bought by all sorts of investment funds and institutions that need a low risk way of securing wealth. The Bank of England owns a fair bit of our government debt. As do other countries' banks, especially European ones. Also pensions, mutual funds and the like too.

If you manage your own pension funds at all when you choose between safer but low returning funds (usually recommended as you get closer to retirement) and higher risk, higher returning funds, the safer funds are often government bonds. Many of those bonds will be British government ones. So you may be buying the Government's debt!

Debt that is bought by other countries may be bought by foreign public companies who run pension and other investment funds. There has also been a lot of mention lately of the way China and Saudia Arabia are buying Western debts through Sovereign Wealth Funds.

As to aid to other countries - it's not really charity. It buys trade, cooperation and peace (at least in theory). Foreign aid is generally a lot more cost effective than having to send in troops.

threesocksfortheguy Sun 04-Nov-12 17:56:43

I think it is easy to say how well off people are here. but when you look at how the cuts are targeting the most vulnerable in this country, I don't think you can blame people for wondering why this money is being used in this way.
I suppose in my "world" I am looking at families that will be forced into poverty, children who will have no future(unless you call just staying at home a future) and families that are losing all support , not only financial but things like respite.
adults with disabilities that will end up house bound as all support has been withdrawn..... I could go on but it is depressing.
so imo we need to spend money here.

Goldmandra Sun 04-Nov-12 19:13:13

So we should stop helping the desperately poor of the wider world because our government is choosing to reduce help from the relatively well off but most vulnerable in our own society? hmm

mluddy Sun 04-Nov-12 19:15:06

I thought most of the foreign aid was tied - that is it's given in exchange for something else - things like access for an air base close to a hostile country.

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