UK limits spending on Irma disaster relief as overseas territories ‘too wealthy’

The UK’s £13bn aid budget cannot be spent helping its overseas territories recover from Hurricane Irma, the Government has said. Instead, funding must be collected from other reserves across the Government, which have been described as “scanty”.

Anguilla, Turks, Caicos and the British Virgin Islands are all considered too wealthy to receive emergency funding from the budget, according to international aid rules.

The UK has so far pledged £57m to help fund the recovery effort following the deadly storm. Now, the Government is facing claims that five times more aid could have been sent to help the victims of the hurricane had it been allowed to dip into aid budget reserves.

An unnamed minister told the BBC:  “This great pot of ODA, necessary for development, needs to be spent on crises like this and we have to find a way of doing it.”

A Government spokesman said: “This was an unprecedented disaster and it’s absolutely right that the Government responded immediately to the needs of those affected. This was our primary focus and continues to be our priority.

The way Britain and 34 other developed nations spend their aid budget is governed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development based in Paris (OECD). Countries are given a ranking according to need, which is intended to ensure the poorest nations are given priority.

[The Independent]

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