NHS spending has always been a passionate debate in the UK. A health service that provides care and services “free at the point of delivery”, is truly remarkable. However, the UK has an ageing population, and understandably the NHS is constantly in a battle with the government over the desperate need for more funding. Neither the Conservatives or Labour would ever consider lowering the foreign aid budget. However, when observing the details and the figures, it is clear that we must use the bulk of money currently going to other countries on the NHS and other domestic services.
According to government figures, £13 billion of taxpayers’ cash is spent on foreign aid each year. Included in these figures, the UK spent £15 million on “stop-smoking schemes in developing countries” in 2017. Not only is this utterly ridiculous, but it is also puzzling as to why the government feels it needs to spend this amount of money abroad.
Everyone accepts that foreign aid can be a good way to improve societies across the world, but £13 billion is simply too much. It is a well-known fact that some of our money goes towards countries such as India, which is one of the strongest economies in the world. Our foreign aid MUST be targeted, otherwise it is unfair to the UK public who contribute the money!
Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has now made it a legal requirement to spend 0.7% of our GDP to help with “overseas development”. In comparison, the US contributes around £25 billion of its GDP to foreign aid, but that is only 0.18%.
However, last year when the government was questioned about their foreign aid budget they defended it. A spokesmen for the Department of International Development said that the government “is committed to spending every single penny of its aid budget wisely and without waste”.
NHS funding has been the centre of recent political debate, especially since the EU referendum in 2016. A notorious message from Brexiteers was that we can “take back control” of our money and spend it on various sectors, including the NHS.
Two weeks ago, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her NHS funding boost of £394 million per week as the NHS turns 70 years old this year. The government said this was part of the “Brexit dividend” and shows that leaving the EU presents many opportunities.
The National Health Service is an institution which all citizens of the UK are proud of, and therefore whenever it struggles people get upset and angry. However, times are changing in the UK due to an ageing population. Social care is another sector which desperately needs more investment. There is no doubt that all parties care about the NHS, but it is unbelievable that neither of the two main parties are prepared to stand up for taxpayers’ money and demand an end to this obscene target. If people want to see long-term steady investment to this glorious health service, then force the government to STOP sending so much money to foreign countries and to instead focus on BRITISH SOCIETY.