UK & World News
Britain To End Financial Aid To India In 2015
Britain's controversial £280m-a-year aid programme for India will end in 2015, the Government has announced.
The UK will reduce its support to the fast-developing country over the next three years, saving around £200m ahead of the cut-off.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said programmes already under way would go ahead but nothing new would be approved.
Future British support for India will be limited to skills-sharing in areas like trade, investment and health and will be worth around £30m-a-year.
The move follows criticism that the Government is imposing drastic austerity measures at home while handing out a fortune in aid to rich, developing nations.
India has become a focus of the anger because it has its own space programme and a booming economy that is growing at 8% a year.
Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said last year that the country no longer wanted or needed the grant, describing it as "a peanut in our total development expenditure".
The decision will also delight Tory MPs who have attacked Prime Minister David Cameron's commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid.
Ms Greening said: "After reviewing the programme and holding discussions with the government of India this week, we agreed that now is the time to move to a relationship focusing on skills-sharing rather than aid.
"India is successfully developing and our own bilateral relationship has to keep up with 21st century India. It's time to recognise India's changing place in the world.
"It is of course critical that we fulfil all the commitments we have already made and that we continue with those short-term projects already under way which are an important part of the UK and government of India's development programme."
British support beyond 2015 will involve a hub of British development experts working with the Delhi government, and a programme of private sector investment.
Charities cautioned that the move may be "too hasty" because of the immense poverty still seen in the country.
Oxfam's director of campaigns and policy, Phil Bloomer, said: "It's crucial that we don't cut off money which gives a lifeline to poor families, and a third of the world's poorest people live in India.
"Despite the fact India is a country of growing wealth, it is also a hugely divided country with extreme levels of poverty and inequality. The scale of the challenge remains huge."
Melanie Ward, head of advocacy at ActionAid, added: "India is an example of the changing face of global poverty and a fast-moving economic landscape, but the reality is that it is a country with more poor people than in the whole of sub-Saharan Africa.
"Aid which is carefully targeted at the poorest and most vulnerable people in India still has the potential to make an enormous difference to millions of lives."
Labour MP Keith Vaz also claimed the move would affect "the most vulnerable" and stressed the importance of the link to Delhi.
"Although undoubtedly India has progressed in the past 20 years, there are still an estimated 360 million people surviving on less than 35p per day," he said.
"We need to reassure the Indian government and its people that this relationship is a priority."
what do you think?
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We will see...... About time our government took care if us.
ha ha ha !! are you for real??
Living in hope?
They will only divert the money to some other country for it to be spirited away into numbered bank accounts around the world by its corrupt leaders. Our own people are well down the list for any help from what is,after all,our own money.
Why are we waiting until 2015 to end this totally unecessary handout to a country with a huge economy, neuclear weapons and a space programme ??
Why not now and inclufde a lot of others as well
Hooray! Perhaps they can start giving us some
ha ha ha !!!
There are plenty of people in this country that need our help, yes there are appalling conditions abroad but the elderly, disabled, our forces need our help, people losing their jobs.. Why send money abroad?
exactly .... let the indian physicians help themselves whoops i forgot ............ most are over here
Windows Live User
The aid will be aimed elsewhere in the world, not at the growing British problem. So don't get your hopes up. This Cameron Govt has promised to Raise Aid to other countries during their tenure so it will exceed £10billion per year given away. Not until British people are found dead in the streets through starvation will the growing British problem come to the attention of Cameron.
Have I missed something? Was it not the previous Governement that promised to increase the overseas aid budget to 13bn pounds by 2015, and gave assurances that this amount could not be altered even if they lost the election. I don't recall the Labour opposition having said anything against this aid either recently or in the past. Do You? If that was the deal, then we just have to live with it.
cameron and his cronies are giving away more money than ever these days, just so they can look smug. in the meantime the sick and elderly are being left to rot in this country.it's absolutely disgusting. they should be tried for treason!
oh well , i suppose it gives time for a few others to squirrel the millions away in their own banks !!
Why wait till then
Yeah end it to India and set it up to another country. If England has no money like they say we would not be able to keep sending money abroad
Should end now this countries In a mess our money should stay here and help us - SIMPLE
I'm sure the money could be better spent on the poor people in this country who are having trouble surviving due to the state of the economy.
Not a moment to soon Bet though we don't see any benefit like 5 p off a litre of fuel etc
We give in overseas aid more money than the whole of the 19 other members of the G 20 and to give this money to India is stupid because they earn more than that in 1 day and their aid bill is a total of 220 million. Osborne wants to increase it next year to 21 billion which will destroy the taxpayers and the entire economy
why wait until 2015 stop it NOW we have enough poverty and homeless people in this country who need help with all the cut backs happening in hospitals schools with the police with our armed forces and fire service its about time our goverment looked after this country first
Reading the story it sounds like they don't want our hand outs anymore and therefore just cut it NOW! Indian finance minister Pranab Mukherjee said last year that the country no longer wanted or needed the grant, describing it as "a peanut in our total development expenditure". Seems alittle rude to say that after all the help we've given them don't you think. Let the Indian government look after their own poor, it's their jobs after all!
There's gratitude! Good! About time it stopped!
Why should the spoilt and pampered UK citizens care if 1000's of the poorest Indian kids will no longer be educated?
Well, apart from one comment, everyone seems to agree!