Burnham Grammar Schools Panel
My notes used for a Q&A panel on the issue of the UKs spend on development aid at Burnham Grammar School.
'People should focus their support on local charities rather than international relief.'
- Relative Wealth vs Absolute Wealth - need to understand the challenges faced by people in different countries
- 10% of worlds population still living in absolute poverty ie < $1/day - the UN target is to eliminate absolute poverty by 2050 and the trends look good - 20 years ago 40% were living in absolute poverty
- Achieved by well targeted development aid on health and economic development from the UN/Governments/NGOs
- Average Wage in the UK is £24k ie approx $60/day we are a wealthy well off country
- Use facts and evidence and both our hearts and our heads to decide on such issues
- Local needs are always more visible to us and understandably feel more real but there is still a greater need in developing countries.
- If we are to contain global population growth and reduce the flow of economic migrants from failed states we need to continue to fund and support development.
- UK Government Spending on our Well Being - is huge £500bn per year on looking after its citizens which is £1.5bn a week & dwarfs the spend in developing countries -
- Healthcare £143bn, Education £86bn, Welfare £113bn, Pensions £157bn
- Development Aid represents 0.7% GDP or just under 3% of this total UK spend
- UK Charity Sector (Third Sector, Not for Profit etc) in the UK is large, varied and complex from small underfunded 100% volunteers to well funded National Organisations such as the NT to intentional NGOs such as emergency relief organisations - total of 163,800 in the UK
- Overall Funding - total is £40bn
- Donations - individual, corporate, Lottery Funding, Appeals etc £15bn
- Government Grants - £15bn
- Operations - Charity Shops, Visitors, Sales, Events, Concerts etc £10bn
- UK has unique world class charities to be proud of eg the Hospice Movement, NT
- UK Charity sector employs some 800,000 permanent employees or 3% of UK workforce but relies on volunteers - 15 million people volunteer once per month
- Overseas Development Aid
- 5 Countries meet the UN relative target of 0.7% of GDP - Sweden, Norway, NL, Denmark, UK
- Biggest absolute donors are USA $31bn 0.19%, UK $19bn 0.7% approx £12bn, Germany $18bn 0.42%
- UK Development Aid equates to £137pp and costs the average wage earner £55 in tax
- Its important that development aid is not wasted and does not distort local markets, destroy local economies for example handing out too much ‘free’ aid can destroy the livelihood of local farmers
- The UN has learnt the hard way how to do development properly -
- aid should be targeted at infant mortality, women empowerment and fertility rights and freeing up local economies from the dead hand of government regulation restrictions and corruption -
- Asia has been a fantastic example of getting it right,
- Africa has been an unmitigated disaster of how not to do it but even here lessons have been learned - much of the aid to Africa has been wasted by corrupt governments
- Providing pre conditions to receiving development funds is hugely counter productive -and does not work e.g.
- by insisting on religious conversion or behaviour eg Catholic charities on contraception
- the forced sterilisation of millions of women against their will such as happened in India and China in the 60/70s to bring down birth rates is morally repugnant
- The way to bring down population growth and reduce economic migration is through economic development and improving health in developing countries particularly reducing infant mortality - this has been proven to work over the last 25 years
The UK spends £500bn a year looking after its citizens wrt health, education, pensions and care, the UK Charity sector is vibrant and growing and spends £40bn a year to top up this Government Welfare Spend, - the UK's overseas Aid Budget is £12bn or just over 2% of the above figures or 0.7% of our GDP.
So we are already getting the balance about right and doing a lot we can be proud of!
The UK's development Aid Budget would have marginal impact adding on the huge domestic spend on looking after each of us but these funds have a huge impact when targeted well for desperate people living in absolute poverty on less than $1/day, and helps us in the long run by reducing global economic migration and the overall population growth in the world.
My heart is big and kind enough to think that our development Aid Budget should continue to be spent at the current levels and be targeted to promote economic development and improved health for our fellow human beings who cannot rely on their own government to help them, as our helps us..... its a no brainer to me based on these facts!