Boris Johnson has backed the call for a huge de facto reduction in the budget for foreign aid, saying that the money must be spent on the political and commercial interests & # 39; from the UK.

The £ 13.4 billion pot would have to finance all peacekeeping work and global services, says a controversial report – diverting much of its money to the Department of Defense and the BBC.

And the aid target, legally adjusted to 0.7 percent of gross national income, must be reworked for the British government's own policy objectives, which go beyond economic development in poor countries.

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Mr. Johnson has put his shoulders under the proposals, put forward in a pamphlet from a backbench Tory MP, who says they "have a hard time to disagree with".

"We could ensure that 0.7 percent – a huge sum of money – was spent more in line with the political, commercial and diplomatic interests of Britain," he said.

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The reactions were strongly criticized by the aid activists, the Save The Children warning that the UK was in danger of losing "its status as an international development force".

It was "a role that ensures both the seat of the UK at the top tables of the world and saves and transforms the lives of children in some of the poorest places on earth," said Kevin Watkins, the top boss of the organization.

Laura Taylor, head of global aid of Christian Aid, said: "The idea of ​​giving help in national interest is both flawed and immoral.

"Uit onderzoek blijkt dat hulp veel minder waarschijnlijk effectief is als donoren hun eigen prioriteiten stellen, of de belangen van grote bedrijven en particuliere financiering, vóór de behoeften van de landen en de mensen die van die hulp zouden moeten profiteren."

De heer Johnson wees op zijn woede toen, nadat de orkaan Irma de Britse Maagdeneilanden in 2017 verwoestte, Britse steun niet kon worden gebruikt om levens opnieuw op te bouwen.

"Dat was een echte les voor mij in het belang van het veranderen van deze regels", vertelde de voormalige minister van Buitenlandse Zaken aan BBC Radio 4's Today-programma.

De heer Johnson stond erop dat hij "Dfid niet wilde plunderen [department for international development] van hun geld ", maar voegde eraan toe:" We kunnen slimmer zijn in het gebruik van onze hulpgelden. "

The call comes after Penny Mordaunt, the international development secretary, came under fire from MPs after telling the cabinet the foreign aid budget was “unsustainable”.

The government should shift its focus towards attracting private donations, and reduce reliance on taxpayers’ money, she said last month.

Her remarks were seized upon by Labour, who claimed it was a “cynical attempt to undermine” the country’s commitment to eradicating global poverty.

Now the pamphlet has been written by Bob Seely, a Conservative member of the foreign affairs select committee, and James Rogers, a leading strategist at the Henry Jackson Society thinktank.

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The proposals, to be fed into a Foreign Office review of the UK's soft power, suggest the Foreign Office should swallow up incorporating both the DfID and the trade department.

The report says the UK’s projection of its power has been weakened by disjointed Whitehall structures and imbalances in the nation's spending towards aid focused on economic deprivation.


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