Campaigners accuse May of crossing ‘red line’ on international aid

Tuesday, 28 August, 2018

Prime Minister's call for aid in the national interest is 'return to 1970s'

Campaigners have accused the Prime Minister of ‘crossing a red line’ on international aid today, in a speech which Theresa May gave on a visit to South Africa. Global Justice Now condemned Theresa May’s vision of aid, which calls for more aid to be spent helping UK business activities in Africa, and states that aid should be spent in the UK’s national interest.

Reacting to the speech, Nick Dearden of Global Justice Now said:
“The Prime Minister has today laid out a deeply regressive vision of aid which takes us back to the 1970s – a time when aid was not about creating a fairer world but about helping western countries to generate more business for their own corporations.

"The whole point of aid should be about redistributing wealth and creating a more equal world. By spending aid helping British corporations and developing British trade, you will rather see aid increasingly used to make inequality much worse in the world. That’s why, in this speech, May has crossed a red line.

“Of course Africa can benefit from trade and investment, but only when corporations are properly regulated and taxed and when it does not displace economic relations with neighbouring states. Otherwise, it is nothing but a recipe for exploitation that increases poverty and inequality.

“May’s speech today holds out the possibility of British taxes being spent helping some of the biggest corporations to make even bigger profits from Africa, and creating a government fund that can be used to bully and cajole African countries who ‘step out of line’. This is a betrayal of all those who campaigned for a proper aid budget as a step towards building a fairer world."


Photo: Theresa May gives a press conference with South African president President Cyril Ramaphosa. Credit: Number 10/Flickr