U.K. Expected To Cut Aid Payments To India In Half

U.K. International Development Secretary Justine Greening on a visit to New Delhi this week is expected to “outline plans to phase out Britain’s controversial aid payments to India, which are likely to come to an end after 2015,” the Financial Times reports. “According to reports in two British newspapers, Ms. Greening will announce she intends to cut the current £280 million-a-year [$448 million] program in half,” the newspaper notes (Stacey, 11/4). “The move comes amid mounting criticism that Britain’s overseas aid program, which is set to reach more than 12 billion pounds [$19 billion] by 2014, cannot be justified at a time of spending cuts back home,” the Times of India writes (11/5).

Janet Hemingway, director of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, warned the move is the “first sign the government may be bowing to Conservative backbench pressure for cuts,” the Financial Times writes in a separate article, adding she said delays in funding for several programs, including one to fight malaria and another to prevent maternal deaths, could be a sign of cuts. Hemingway “said that any [funding] reduction would result in the loss of British jobs as well as deaths in the developing world,” but the Department for International Development “said its … budget would be protected,” the newspaper states (Bounds, 11/6). “Britain is committed to increasing aid expenditure to the United Nations target of 0.7 percent of GDP by 2013 and the aid money currently going to India is expected to be diverted to other poorer countries,” the Independent notes (Wright, 11/4).

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