General Article Debate report: Britain must cut its overseas aid budget now

Topic Selected: Poverty
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  • Chair: Rod Liddle
  • Proposing: Ian Birrell, Richard Dowden, Stephen Glover
  • Opposing: Prof. Paul Collier, Alan Duncan MP, Richard Miller

Ian Birrell, former speechwriter for David Cameron, proposed the motion by likening aid programmes to helping child beggars in the third world. The gift, though well-intentioned, keeps children out of school, encourages more kids to start begging and condemns entire families to penury. If aid worked, Birrell would happily treble it. But it distorts economies and humiliates the recipients. ‘Aid workers are the new colonials, driving around in 4x4s and earning many times more than locals.’ Waste is inevitable. Barely 40p in every pound, he said, reaches the intended beneficiaries. And aid promotes corruption. Uganda’s president spent $30 million on a new jet three years ago – equivalent to half his country’s annual aid budget. And aid encourages tyranny. Rwanda, which receives huge chunks of UK cash, has been accused of sending hit-squads to Brit...

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