Let us get some basic facts and figures on the Overseas Aid budget as it currently stands before considering the effects of a no vote in the referendum.
The OECD recommends that countries should spend 0.7% of their income on foreign aid relief.
In Europe only 5 countries claim to achieve this level. They are the UK, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway and Sweden.
The USA gives more money than any other country (£20 billion) but they are the richest country and this only represents 0.19% of their income. France gives 0.37% and Germany 0.42%
How would a vote to leave the EU affect overseas aid?
In a letter of 24th Feb 2016, 24 Key figures in some of the biggest UK aid charities – Oxfam, Action Aid, the World Wildlife Fund, Save the Children and Christian Aid said ‘Only inside the EU can the UK help fight global poverty’ Click to read the letter and see who signed it.
Another aspect of a vote to leave is what is known as the multiplier effect. Here is an explanation from Diane Abbot (Shadow international Development Secretary) taken from her article ‘Why Brexit puts at risk the aid which goes to the world’s poorest’
‘The UK delivers 10% of its development spending through the EU and every pound of aid the UK spends through the institutions of the European Union is matched by £6 from other member states meaning that a larger pool of money is able to deliver better lives for the poorest people around the world, and that more areas can be benefitted’.
There are lots of arguments about the wisdom of overseas aid and about its implementation, and I am particularly aware that some who will read this have a far deeper understanding of the issues than I do. However, if you think, as I do, that it is not only good from a humanitarian point of view but also from the point of view that it is a good way to reduce tensions in the world and thus the associated problems of migrants and terrorists, then a reduced level of aid will not be a good thing.