Portsmouth MP defends UK’s £555m foreign aid boom

Penny Mordaunt MP
Penny Mordaunt MP
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INCREASED spending on Britain’s overseas aid budget has been defended by an MP.

In the last year the amount of cash the UK pumped out to help other nations swelled by more than £555m last year to £14bn – more than doubling during the past decade.

Critics hit out at Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt, who is the foreign development secretary charged with leading UK aid policy.

The Tory MP was under pressure to justify the cash as vital services at home – like the NHS, schools and defence – face increasing cutbacks.

Retaliating to her critics, Ms Mordaunt told The News that Britain had a role to play on a global stage – and that providing foreign aid was a key part of this.

She said: ‘The aid budget is pegged to our national income: it only goes up if the economy grows, but I know people have concerns about the balance between it and our domestic priorities, that is why I introduced the higher spending bar I did earlier this year.

‘UK aid also benefits the UK. For example the healthcare research we fund has led to new treatments and tests being used on NHS wards and is helping tackle anti microbial resistance. I want to do more work like this in the future.’

A government spokesman added: ‘2017 was an unprecedented year for catastrophic crises and UK aid saved millions of vulnerable people …creating a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for us all, which is in our national interest.’