British Aid

Iím delighted and honoured to have won a place on the Commons International Development Committee, writes Peter Luff MP. On the committee, I will certainly do all I can to ensure taxpayers money is well spent, but I will also robustly defend the British aid budget from its critics.

I do understand the aid budget is controversial, but I really think those who attack it saying "Charity begins at home" are wrong.

In the bible we are urged to love our neighbours as ourselves. And that's the clue to what charity beginning at home really means.

It is only on the foundations of love and kindness to our family and our local community that we can securely extend that love to wider society, both national and international. But our love for a close circle is only really meaningful if it is accompanied by love for the wider world.

So although love and charity do indeed begin at home, they must never ever stop there.

When constituents write to me invoking the "charity begins at home" line, they generally mean that it should stop there too. Or only extend beyond it when our closest needs are fully satisfied.

But it is in the very nature of humanity that we will never be satisfied. When one multi-millionaire was asked how much money it took to be really happy, he answered, "Just a little more".

And that's the problem. Those who misuse arguments about where charity should extend will always find a reason to refuse to extend it.

But we must extend it. International development assistance is a moral imperative in a rich society such as ours, but it also brings practical benefits. A more just, more prosperous, better educated, healthier world will be safer and will provide more markets for British goods and services. And thatís precisely what the British aid budget can achieve.


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