Britain has an established reputation as an economic power. Although in recent years the British economy has experienced an economic downturn. In light of this, some UK nationals believe Britain ought to withdraw foreign aid and redirect it to the domestic economy. The G8 Accountability Report, compiled earlier in 2013, demonstrated that the UK achieved all Official Development Assistance (ODA) goals for the past decade and that the UK spends more money on foreign aid, as a percentage of Gross National Income (GNI), than any other G8 country.
The UK press is saturated in devastating reports and images of Syrian refugees and Typhoon Haiyan victims making it difficult to distance oneself from the basic human instinct to help those less fortunate. Economic disparity between Britain and these distressed nations heightens the importance of basics, such as healthcare, emergency manpower and technology, food stores, housing, and evacuation centres which can save millions of lives.
Foreign aid statistics indicate that aid expenditure per the average household is 16 pence for every £10 spent. A relatively insignificant amount at home, 16 pence actually makes immensely impacts the world’s poorest, consequently assisting those in need of humanitarian aid.
Critics against foreign aid declare it to be misdirected and, particularly during austere times at home. They imply that aid is administered to corrupt governmental bodies instead of directly to the victims of these criminal institutions. But in September, David Cameron stated that: “We’ll help lead the world…and make sure vital aid gets through”. The government and the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), a body responsible for scrutiny of UK aid, focusing upon maximizing the impact and effectiveness of the UK aid budget-intended beneficiaries and delivering value for money for the UK taxpayer, attempt to direct aid appropriately, but aid is not always perfect.
Syria is a classic case study for the effectiveness of British foreign aid. Despite international conferences, an effective resolution for the abominable situation, resulting in millions of refugee displacement, cannot be settled. In the meantime, aid workers and capital provided by wealthier nations, has abetted refugees with food, shelter and medical care.
International economic development increases has united the global community more than ever before. Suffering abroad affects Britain. The inundation of Syrian refugees into its neighbouring countries requires British intervention. Withdrawing aid at present would mean British nationals face the probability of aiding them at home in the future. Aid funding provides increased employment opportunities, tax collection and maintains a sustainable public sector. Aid dependency is extant; contribution enables a resolution, but without, the problem will flourish.
It is our human nature to help those less fortunate. Events like Comic Relief and Children in Need are popular for just that reason. Cutting aid would result in other nations viewing Britain negatively, degrading Britain’s reputation. Lives are transformed by aid; those lives would be at risk without Britain. This generation could abolish extreme poverty but that will never be achieved without British aid.