Socialist Worker

Foreign aid is not the scandal

Issue No. 2535

An anti-war protest on Christmas Eve demands an end to arms sales to support the war on Yemen

An anti-war protest on Christmas Eve demands an end to arms sales to support the war on Yemen (Pic: Duncan Smith)


The right wing media has got into a frenzy over foreign aid. Britain spends 0.7 percent of its gross national income on foreign aid—that’s far too much for the likes of the Daily Mail newspaper.

The Daily Mail on Tuesday demonised families in Pakistan who receive meagre amounts.

Tory MP Philip Davies said, “We are clearly the mugs of the world.” Instead of exposing the real scandals of massive waste—Trident, tax cuts for the rich, handouts to corporations—the Tories point at foreign aid.

In fact the money often comes with conditions and is frequently used to promote the British state’s interests abroad.

If it finds its way to ordinary people, that’s to be celebrated. Some £725,000 of the 2015 foreign aid budget went to Medical Aid for Palestinians.

Good—but it in no way comes close to making up for the horrific legacy of British imperialism that devastated countries across half the world and continues to bear down on many.

The Daily Mail bemoaned a £6.1 million aid payment to Yemen made in 2015.

Meanwhile, Britain is selling weapons to the Saudi regime that is waging a brutal war against Yemen.

We stand for international solidarity with workers across the world, exposure of the real role of the British state—and a global struggle that goes a lot further than handouts.


Article information

What We Think
Tue 3 Jan 2017, 15:10 GMT
Issue No. 2535
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