BREXIT BOOST: Britain WILL use foreign aid budget to secure trade deals after EU exit

Posted on Oct 25 2017 - 4:21am by admin

Priti Patel, 45, was a leading member of the Leave campaign in last year’s referendum and said the UK would use the funds to support Britain’s “national interest” as it embarked on securing various trade deals once it had left the European Union (EU).

Ms Patel also said that the money would continue to support efforts to alleviate poverty around the world.

She told the Commons International Development Committee: “We can absolutely use it for humanitarian, but also for prosperity, Britain post-Brexit, on trade and economic development.

“There are a whole raft of opportunities there where we can use that money for our national interest, or Global Britain’s interest, as well as helping to alleviate poverty around the world and doing more in terms of international development too.”

Ms Patel, launching her Supplier Review, said, after Britain leaves in March 2019, the Government would look again at all aid programmes where it sent funding to the EU.

She said that while the UK would continue to seek to work in partnership with the EU on specific projects, it would no longer send funds “unconditionally” to Brussels with little or no oversight or transparency as to how or where they were spent.

Ms Patel said: “There isn’t much oversight and transparency and accountability in terms of how that money is spent.

“I would like much of that money to remain with us so that we can see how that money we now give to the EU comes back to us and then obviously we can determine how it is spent.

“Once we leave the European Union on 29 March 2019, we will look at all programmes.

“We are not going to just write cheques unconditionally, absolutely not, in the way that we have done to the European Commission.

“But what we will of course do is look at where we can have the right kind of partnership working.

“If it is in a refugee camp for example in Jordan or Bangladesh, that kind of work will continue.

“But it will be a very, very different way of working to what we have now where we just give a chunk of money over to the European Commission which we don’t have any oversight over.”

READ MORE: The Daily Express’ Stop The Foreign Aid Madness

The Liberal Democrats, however, criticised the move, saying that 30 per cent of development aid was lost in a “black hole”.

The party’s international development spokeswoman Shas Sheehan said: “Liberal Democrats always welcome moves towards openness, transparency and accountability concerning public money.

“However, there are two glaring omissions from today’s supplier review announcement by Priti Patel.

“No mention is made of the 30 per cent of development aid spent by other government departments. Most of this money seemingly disappears into a black hole, with nowhere near the level of scrutiny required by DFID.

“Secondly, £6billion of taxpayers’ money will be disbursed by the DFID’s economic investment body, CDC, by 2020, and yet this organisation is not subject to the same level of scrutiny of other DFID partners.

“Priti Patel must administer the same level of scrutiny on all departments and institutions which are spending UK aid.”

Ms Patel first suggested the idea to use some of the £13.3 billion annual overseas aid budget to help secure post-Brexit trade deals earlier this year.

A 1,700-word statement, issued to Parliament in April, spoke of the “national interest” only in terms of preventing crisis from poverty overseas reaching “our doorstep”.

The announcement by Ms Patel comes after the Daily Express launched its campaign to end the madness of Britain’s foreign aid spending.

Britain’s sky-high overseas aid commitment now sees £1 in every £7 spent on aid globally, coming courtesy of the British taxpayer.

The campaign calls for the Government to adopt a common sense approach and reduce our eye-watering commitment so more cash can be spent at home. 

Conservative MP David Davies said: “I salute the Daily Express for drawing attention to some of the ridiculous ways foreign aid money is spent. 

“Clearly some of the projects should be abandoned with money better spent here in the UK.”

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