'Why are we letting our own people suffer to help somebody else first?' Caller questions foreign aid

17 November 2020, 10:26 | Updated: 17 November 2020, 11:31

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

This caller was furious over the UK's foreign aid budget and how the country is helping others before helping its own citizens.

"I'm absolutely fuming", Seamus from Birmingham called in to give his view on foreign aid.

He told Nick Ferrari that "the easiest analogy is you and your neighbour both have houses that are falling down, you've got kids inside yours, but you go nextdoor but you help build theirs back up and let yours crumble to pieces."

Nick pointed out that by sending money to China "we're going and helping the very very rich person at the end of the road whose house is almost perfect."

The conversation comes as the news emerged that the foreign aid budget could reportedly be cut temporarily after the UK's public finances took a hit dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.

The caller could only agree with Nick, pointing out that Covid restrictions meant he was unable to see his family, but that others Nick had spoken to were out of touch.

"Why on earth are we going to allow other countries to get better before us?" The caller questioned.

He told Nick he could not understand "why you would let your own people to suffer to help somebody else first."

"It genuinely saddens me," Seamus said.

The Times reported plans had been drawn up to pare back the commitment to spend at least 0.7% of national income on foreign aid to 0.5%, and the move could be announced in the chancellor's comprehensive spending review next week.

A Treasury official did not deny the report but declined to comment on speculation about fiscal events.

The gross national income of the UK in 2019 was £2.17 trillion, meaning a drop from 0.7% to 0.5% would account for more than £4 billion.

The 0.7% target was first agreed by the United Nations in 1970, and the UK Government has met the target since 2013. It was enshrined into law in 2015.