Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Foreign Aid Is Spared From British Budget Cut

While the U.S. House of Representatives decided to undertake deep budget cut in order to fund their debts and budget deficit, the British government has already delivered the promised budget cut to fund UK's current deficit. But unlike the U.S. House bill, the British government has spared two key areas from the budget cut: national health and fortunately, foreign aid. Not only that, the government is actually planning to increase the budget for foreign aid by 37% in real terms over the next four years. The British conservatives are going to implement an average of 19% budget cuts across almost every area of government spending to eliminate the current deficit by 2015. Defense will face a 7.5% budget cut over the next four years while the diplomatic budget will shrink by 24%.

There are mainly three reasons why the British government is exempting foreign aid from the budget cut. First, national security reason. The British government believes that it is cheaper to donate several billion dollars to the fragile states in order to help them build their infrastructures than investing tens or thousands of billion dollars for emergency intervention in case these states collapse and pose a security threat for Britain. Second, economic reasons. As the world is shrinking and several new powers are competing with the West to capture the world market, it is wise to provide aid to weak countries in order to build goodwill and create personal and organizational ties. Third, humanitarian reasons. The British government believes that it is their moral duty to eliminate global poverty and to help reduce the enormous suffering across the globe. Experts are hopeful that the British government's decision of sparing foreign aid from the budget cut can be an example for the American government who so far placed less priority on aid and decided to cut a major portion of it to finance their deficit.

-Nisha Noor