I went to the IFS briefing on the pre-budget report a couple of weeks ago, and was struck by this graph
It shows that amidst vicious cuts in most government departments (the only exceptions being maintained spending on health and sure start, and a tiny increase in education), Overseas Development Assistance is roaring ahead. My initial reaction was that this emphasised the effectiveness of international development campaigners – that overseas aid is now almost the only ringfenced budget – both Labour and the Tories are still pledging to meet 0.7%.
I emailed it round work asking what lessons we could learn for UK poverty campaigning from this international success, but a couple of well-informed colleagues abused my idealism. They claim it’s mostly anti-terrorism money destined for Afghanistan, being channeled through the aid budget. Not a victory for morality and a sign of our global responsibilities, but the old self-interested realpolitik. Depressing.