Eddie Mair 4pm - 7pm
James O'Brien explains why foreign aid budget is so important to UK
16 June 2020, 14:32
This is James O'Brien's explanation of why the foreign aid budget is so important to the UK.
The government department responsible for overseas aid is to be merged with the Foreign Office in a cost-cutting move.
When a caller suggested that Boris Johnson could use the foreign aid budget to sort out issues in our own country, James explained how it is already helping solve issues in the UK.
He said: "Children are going hungry in this country. But if you were to focus on the children in other countries, they are dying of starvation.
"Foreign aid, as it stands, is less than 1% of our GDP. The target is 0.7%. So there's 99.3% of all the money that the government can spend goes on things other than helping people overseas.
"And the other issue about how foreign aid is perceived is that it's not just charity. It's sometimes quite self-serving.
"For example, after Brexit, when we need to strike up new trade agreements with countries that aren't in the top tier internationally, one of the ways you encourage other governments to look favourably at the UK is by helping them out with building hospitals, dams and things like that.
"A lot of people put a lot of effort into persuading us that foreign aid is just handouts for foreign people, but quite often, the money spent is an investment on Britain's financial future.
"Remember, if we didn't spend the money on some projects, there would be even more refugees in the world. Or if we haven't spent the money, we wouldn't have signed a deal with that country."
Hear his full call at the top of the page.