Letter: Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, is wrong, we’re proud of UK Aid

These Islanders believe that cutting the UK’s aid budget – which was endorsed by Bob Seely MP last week – could seriously harm the UK’s international standing and would be an absurd idea.

one campaign - children in clasroom by

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This letter from five Island residents; Nigel Evans, Cath Fletcher, Ailsa Richardson, Paul Hornsby, Richard Wilson and Karen Gentle. Ed

We’re writing as a group of local residents in opposition to Isle of Wight Conservative MP, Robert Seely’s call for a multibillion-pound cut in the UK’s overseas aid budget, as reported in last week’s news.

Cutting the UK’s aid budget – which was endorsed by Bob Seely MP – could seriously harm the UK’s international standing and would be an absurd idea.

Why step back at such a pivotal time for our global reputation?

Merging departments
The report, which also called for the Department for International Development to be merged into the Foreign Office, could see Britain moving away from helping millions of people each year.

Fewer lives saved
Analysis highlighted by The ONE Campaign shows that this move alone would mean at least 60,000 fewer lives would be saved by immunisation each year and at least 1 million fewer children would be in education each year.

Is this really what we want to do?

We’re a generous nation
This is not who we are. We’re a generous nation with heart and global expertise to share.

When UK aid isn’t spent effectively, we should call it out but we want our MP to hear this message: overseas aid and fighting extreme poverty is the right thing to do and we’re proud of this country’s legacy in doing so.


Nigel Evans, Cowes
Cath Fletcher, Newport
Ailsa Richardson, Sandown
Paul Hornsby, Brighstone
Richard Wilson, Brading
Karen Gentle, Ryde

Image: © Ricci Shryrock

Monday, 18th February, 2019 11:20am


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Filed under: Government, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

Any views or opinions presented in the comments below are solely those of the author and do not represent those of OnTheWight.

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9 Comments on "Letter: Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, is wrong, we’re proud of UK Aid"

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Alternative Perspective

Fighting extreme poverty is very much the right thing to do, but to achieve this goal you need the support of a Government that believes in this beyond political rhetoric.

The Conservative Party is pro increasing poverty in society inorder to ensure a subservient low wage workforce both at home and abroad.

Rupert Besley
Well said, those readers. I couldn’t agree more. Writing in today’s Guardian, Professor Philip Murphy, Director of the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, puts the Global Britain report co-authored by Mr Seely in the category of ‘crass, reactionary, historically illiterate…nonsense’. It certainly struck me as having more to do with sentiments of the past (gung-ho jingoism and gunboat diplomacy) than with the future. And also a fair bit… Read more »

Unfortunately foreign aid is going to corrupt regimes such as the millions given to North Korea, or those who spend fortunes on space projects, such as India. This is a ridiculous waste of money due to our Government satisfying a target percentage of GDP to be given away.

Rupert Besley
Yes, where the money ends up is always the problem with overseas aid (and a convenient excuse for those who wish to cut back on giving). So, does that mean we should reduce such spending, turn our back on the problem and walk away from difficulties. Of course not. Instead it means we have to double our efforts on getting assistance to where it is most needed.… Read more »
Thank you for your comments on the Global Britain study published last week. I did not suggest cutting the aid budget. I have suggested that it be spent in a slightly different way. We still support the 0.7 percent spending requirement for overseas aid. First, a basic fact: we currently only spend 16.4 percent of overseas aid budget on life-saving humanitarian support – not a very large… Read more »
Rupert Besley
Thanks for your response. I did indeed read the report before sounding off with an opinion here. It should come as no surprise that the report would trigger comment and criticism. As Ian Austin MP put it in his Foreword, ‘I am also clear that the purpose of a report like this is not for the reader – or even an endorser like me – to agree… Read more »
Alternative Perspective

Bob, I believe you suggested on the Radio 4 Today Programme that 0.2% of the 0.7% Foreign Aid budget be given to the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office.

I am sure both these Government Departments and their respective Ministers will be delighted by your suggestion, and it will benefit your Parliamentary career progression.

Mark L Francis

I find it hard to believe that the UK does not get benefits out of providing aid – whether its diplomatic leverage, soft power or just that alleviating poverty decreases economic migration. I would have thought it would be a false economy to cut it.

I suspect that people think our Foreign Aid consists of large sacks of money handed to corrupt politicians in third world countries who promptly spend it on luxury.Apart from the humanitarian aid, it actually goes into infrastructure and education. Very often it is specified that the funds purchase goods or services from UK suppliers, or that UK charities are used. This isn’t just philanthropy. Our intention is… Read more »