International Aid trumps UK Defence needs

Many people at home and abroad will be amazed that George Osborne, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer, can boast as he did in his British House of Commons speech on the Comprehensive Spending Review of UK Government spending, that spending on foreign aid will actually rise by over 50% to £11.5 billion by 2013/14 while the armed forces will suffer massive cuts over the same period.

This massive expenditure will go straight on to the almost never mentioned current account deficit which is running at over £40 billion per annum.  All of this aid will thus have to be borrowed abroad from countries like Kuwait, adding not only about £37 billion to UK national debt by 2013/14, but also an additional £1.5 billion in annual debt interest, about equal to the cut in child benefit in the same year.

All this to impress third world countries at the United Nations, while scrapping the UK’s only means of seaborne airpower – the 80 Harrier GR4s, leaving it with nothing until (theoretically) the new Prince of Wales carrier is equipped with about 20 Joint Strike aircraft in 2020.

At around £25 million annual cost each to maintain, 40 Harriers with all their support personnel and spare parts would cost less than £1 billion per annum, one tenth of the foreign aid budget in 2013/14, all spent in Britain.  To put swanking at the UN ahead of UK real defence needs is an insane inversion of priorities.

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