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Overseas aid

I do understand that many people have concerns about international aid, but I can assure you that The Department for International Development (DFID) has said that a number of recent newspaper articles have reported claims that misrepresent or inaccurately portray projects supported by it, or focus on projects that are no longer funded.

More generally, I personally think introducing legally binding arbitrary limits on spending is unhelpful for national budgets, but if it’s a road to go down I’m glad we are now committed to 2% of GDP on defence as well as 0.7% on international aid. Over the years, that money now no longer goes to countries such as China, and we are in be process of stopping our aid to India, while we are now using aid money for when we import foreign costs, such as in our humanitarian response to the refugee crisis. And all the stories you hear of aid being spent on regimes that are not very savoury come from the government itself, because the Conservatives set up unprecedented levels of monitoring on the basis that sunlight would be the best disinfectant.

It’s not yet perfect, but it is improving. All of this seems to me sensible, so long as the overarching theme for our aid money is that it is spent in our national interest: that means funding projects that diminish terrorism in, say, training grounds such as Nigeria and help combat the spread of Ebola before such problems make it to the UK. As the fifth largest economy in the world I think we have a role to play on the global stage and need to defend ourselves from threats we would all like to see remain abroad.