UK

Foreign Aid Or Flood Relief? Charities Say Ukip Call Is 'Immoral'

12/02/2014 17:28 GMT | Updated 12/02/2014 20:59 GMT
PA

How should the government find cash to help flood victims?

According to the Daily Mail - and Ukip - the answer is Britain's foreign aid budget, aimed at alleviating poverty and helping crisis-hit areas around the world.

The front page of Wednesday's Mail said 100,000 people had signed a petition demanding the Prime Minister diverts the cash to "ease the suffering of British flood victims" and to build flood defences.

This was backed by Nigel Farage, who claimed just a "tiddly bit" of the £11bn budget should be used to compensate people.

Here are some examples of said aid budget, courtesy of the Department for International Development:

Foreign Aid In Action

A former Tory Environment Minister branded the Mail campaign "disgraceful".

Lord Deben told EurActiv: "It is a disgraceful proposal to take from the poorest people on earth in order to avoid paying the cost of flooding from Britain's own resources, resources which the prime minister has already promised."

Charities involved in foreign aid were also not unimpressed.

"The flooding crisis is obviously a very serious event and it is vital to get help to the people affected," said Richard Miller of ActionAid.

"However taking money away from the world’s poorest people is not the answer."

John Hilary, executive director at the anti-poverty charity War on Want, added: “The British government should not divert money from its overseas aid budget to help UK flood victims. There is enough money to support disadvantaged people here and in developing countries.”

Save the Children boss Justin Forsyth said everyone was "moved and concerned" by the impact of the floods.

But he added: “To raid this money, that literally saves millions of lives, would be immoral - imagine raiding £100m from vaccines. It will lead to children dying in some of the poorest parts of the world.

“This is a time for our country to pull together not find scapegoats and play divisive politics with people’s lives.”