aid money should be spent on aid, not the military

by Campaign ~ February 28th, 2013. Filed under: News.

The past few days have brought to light disturbing news about the government considering transferring money from the aid budget (Department for International Development, DfID) to peacekeeping and other defence related projects (Ministry of Defence, MoD).

MPs including PM David Cameron are arguing that security and stability provided for by the MoD is needed before development can take place.

Here at conscience we believe that money should not be diverted from the aid budget to cover the current cuts being made to the defence budget – which is what this move in policy would amount to.

Many organisations and agencies working in conflict areas have highlighted that the need for aid to continue to go towards the provision of health care, education and food is of utmost importance, furthermore this aid also greatly contributes towards peace and security. As Justin Byworth, Chief Executive of World Vision, pointed out after his recent return from the Democratic Republic of Congo: “only a tiny fraction–four per cent–of the 5.4 million civilians who have perished during the long-running conflict have died as a direct result of violence. The vast majority have lost their lives through disease and malnutrition. It is the life-changing aid that DFID already provides that is most effective in saving lives in fragile contexts.”

This announcement of the transfer of funds also comes at a time when the House of Commons Committee of Public Accounts report Ministry of Defence: Managing the defence inventory has shown that over £1 billon is currently being spent by the MoD on supplies and equipment that it does not need.1 Richard Bacon MP, a member of the Public Accounts Committee went further to state “The problem is likely to get worse unless the MoD acts now to get rid of the £3.4 billion stockpile of supplies it has identified as no longer being needed.” Despite claims that the MoD is working to correct these gross wastes of public money these problems are not new. As far back as 1991 there have been warnings about the gross mismanagement of the MoD budget.

conscience believes that there are better more effective ways to bring about security and stability that do not require military solutions. Many of these are carried out by DfID through the aid budget. Please write to your MP urging them not to back the proposal to transfer aid money to the MoD.

conscience is currently working on project to highlight these activities to aid in our campaign for an increase in the amount of money spent on non-military security solutions. Remember to check our website for any new information.

1 [accessed 28-2-2013]

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