Sunday, Dec 21, 2014

Stop UK aid to India and help Britons suffering from flood instead, says UK MP

A car stands in the floodwater at Burrowbridge, southwestern England. (AP) A car stands in the floodwater at Burrowbridge, southwestern England. (AP)
By: Press Trust of India | London | Posted: February 9, 2014 9:26 pm | Updated: February 9, 2014 9:35 pm

One of Britain’s far right MPs today questioned the country’s aid programme to foreign nations like India, while Britons struggled with a worsening flood crisis. Nigel Farage of the UK Independence Party (UKIP) was speaking on a visit to the flood-hit county of Somerset when he complained about millions being given to New Delhi. “What are we doing giving 300 million pounds a year to India who’ve got a space programme, aircraft carriers…So there’s a very strong argument that says: spend the money here,” he told Sky News.

“It seems to me that the aid budget is about us giving charity overseas. When you’ve got an emergency in this country, it’s time to say that charity begins at home,” he added. He accused the Conservative-led government of a “lethargic and inadequate” response to the flood-hit regions and said it was “basic common sense” to suspend international aid while the country was dealing with the aftermath of recent extreme weather.

He dismissed Prime Minister David Cameron’s pledge of 100 million pounds extra spending as “far too little, far too late” and demanded efforts to tackle global poverty be halted. “Anyone with an ounce of common sense knows that a government’s primary duty is to the well-being of its own citizens,” he said. Farage’s anti-EU, anti-immigration UKIP poses a growing threat to the Tories ahead of European parliament elections in May and Britain’s general election next year.

Coastal parts of Britain have been reeling under floods and there are now eight severe flood warnings – meaning “danger to life” – in place, two in the Somerset Levels and six for the Thames in Berkshire, at Old Windsor, Wrasybury and Datchet. Further rain is forecast across the UK in the coming week and the Environment Agency also has more than 80 lesser flood warnings in place across the south east of England.

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