The UK is right to keep giving aid to India and Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell is showing boldness in defending the policy. His statement comes on the day that Trevor Kavanagh’s column in The Sun argues that stopping UK aid to India “could have saved us slashing our own Armed Forces. Or keep hospitals open. Or soften the welfare cuts.”
The UK is set to spend just £280m per year in India and does so in the three poorest states. As I have argued before, it’s wrong to trade off bednets and body armour. It’s also wrong to blame aid to India for the closure of hospitals, when the government has ring-fenced the NHS budget in the same way as the aid budget. And the idea that Trevor Kavanagh should want to soften welfare cuts flies in the face of just about ever column he’s ever written. Besides, there is political consensus both on welfare reform—and the associated benefits cap—just as there is on reaching the UN target of spending 0.7 per cent of GNI on overseas assistance by 2013.