Closed petition Reduce foreign aid in favour of increasing pensions with immediate effect

We pay far too much to third world countries some of which have a space exploration programme when our pensioners are the one if the lowest pay in Europe. I find this unacceptable reading how some freeze to death because of such low pension payments. We are the laughing stock of the world.

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Government responded

This response was given on 30 October 2019

By investing less than a penny in every pound of our national income in aid, the UK is helping to create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

The United Kingdom is a development superpower. We are the only country that is simultaneously meeting the NATO target of spending 2% of our Gross Domestic Product on defence and the UN target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on international development. We should be proud of meeting both those targets, maintaining our security while supporting some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in the world. Our commitment to ending global poverty and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) makes the world safer, healthier and more prosperous for us all.

It is not a case of choosing between international development and priorities at home. We spend over £120 billion on benefits for pensioners, including £99 billion on the State Pension predicted for this year 2019/20. We introduced the Triple Lock and, as a result, the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension in 2019/20 is around £675 higher than if it had just been up-rated by earnings since April 2010. That’s a rise of over £1,600 in cash terms.

We know UK aid works. The latest available data up to 2018-19 show that DFID has achieved the following results:

– Over 14 million children gained a decent education, of whom almost 6 million are girls.
– More than 32 million people have been supported with humanitarian assistance, including at least 10 million women and girls.
– 60.3 million women, children under 5 and adolescent girls have been reached with nutrition-relevant programmes.
– Almost 52 million people have been supported to gain access to clean water or improved sanitation.
– 3.9 million people supported to raise their incomes or maintain/gain a better job or livelihood.
– As a result of our work, by 2020, 76 million children will have been immunised, with over 1 million lives saved.

Official Development Assistance (ODA) is defined by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) Development Assistance Committee (DAC) and all UK aid spending towards our 0.7 commitment must be ODA eligible. Money given to high income countries is not eligible to be classed as ODA. We do, however, have development partnerships with some upper middle-income countries like China. These partnerships focus on bringing benefits to third countries such as those in Africa. Some UK aid also goes to middle-income countries. This is because working with middle-income countries is crucial to tackling global challenges such as climate change, and to ensuring that these countries continue to develop in an inclusive way.

Where the UK considers the international aid rules to be outdated, we have led the way in pushing for reforms at the governing OECD DAC. We have achieved important reforms including increasing the proportion of aid spending which contributes to peacekeeping missions and reducing restrictions to support countries affected by crises and natural disasters. We continue to challenge other nations to deliver on their commitments for a better and safer world.

Poverty reduction is at the heart of UK aid spending, but UK aid also tackles global challenges like climate change, diseases such as Ebola and cross-border threats such as stability and conflict. UK aid is creating a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

Department for International Development