- Rother Valley MP gave impassioned speech in Parliament calling for temporary cut to foreign aid budget
- Said Government should not be borrowing money to send abroad to foreign powers
Alexander Stafford, local Member of Parliament for Rother Valley, spoke in favour of Government proposals to temporarily cut foreign aid spending in an effort to boost British economic recovery in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Alexander said in Parliament today:
I cannot support proposals to allocate 0.7% of our GNI to foreign aid when there is deep-rooted poverty in my own constituency. Across Rother Valley, the claimant rate is about 5.5% and youth unemployment stands at about 10%. This has massively increased because of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is far too high. For example, in Maltby a staggering 8% of all the residents are unemployed. In fact, Maltby in Rother Valley is one of the most deprived wards in the country, and this situation is mirrored in other pockets throughout Rother Valley, such as Swallownest and Dinnington. That is where our aid money should be going. That is where the support should be going during this national emergency. It should go towards helping to level up Rother Valley for the British people.
But more importantly for this debate is the fact that we are not donating our own money. We are not donating taxpayers’ money for foreign aid, although that in itself would warrant examination; instead, we are sending abroad money that the Government and the state are borrowing. That’s right: we are borrowing money when we can least afford it so that we can send it abroad to foreign powers. How ridiculous that sounds! We are in debt, and getting further in debt because of the coronavirus pandemic, yet we are borrowing more money so that we can send it abroad. This is not our money; we are borrowing this money, and we are getting our own country into more and more debt. Surely we cannot afford to do that at this point.
On top of that, we should be careful about where some of this money is going. We are sending vast sums to dictatorships, to countries with space programmes and nuclear programmes, and to nations that have been receiving aid for decades with little change or positive results. It is a disgrace that we are sending aid to the People’s Republic of China—a hostile state with advanced military and industrial programmes led by a communist regime that threatens the rules-based world order and British interests across the globe—while we still have homeless veterans sleeping on our streets. That is not acceptable.