Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Foreign Aid Budget Will Help Support Refugees: Osborne

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Foreign Aid Budget Will Help Support Refugees: Osborne

Article excerpt

Byline: Gavin Cordon Reporter

BRITAIN'S international aid budget is to be used to help cover the costs of taking "thousands more" refugees fleeing the fighting in Syria, Chancellor George Osborne has said.

Mr Osborne said funds will be channelled to local councils to pay for housing and other services as part of a "fundamental re-think" of the UK's PS12billion-a-year foreign aid spending. He said ministers would also begin setting out the arguments for extending RAF air strikes against Islamic State (IS) into Syria as part of a comprehensive strategy to tackle the root cause of the refugee crisis.

The announcement came as David Cameron prepared to set out details of his plan for a major expansion of the Government's programme to resettle vulnerable refugees from the camps in the countries bordering Syria.

Mr Osborne said it was right that aid spending was used in support of Britain's national interest, and he signalled a major shift in resources to the Middle East to promote stability in the region.

He said the Government's commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP on international aid meant that increased funding would become available as the economy strengthened.

"The foreign aid budget that we have can provide the support for the first year for these refugees, to help the local councils with things like housing costs," he told BBC1's The Andrew Marr Show.

"This budget is tied to our GDP, our GDP is going up. Let's use the additional money very specifically on the challenges that Britain faces, one of which is this crisis on our doorstep.

"Five years ago we were spending PS10million on this region, now we are spending PS250m but it is still in, my view, not nearly enough."

While the move is likely to be welcomed by Conservative MPs who have criticised the Government's commitment to the 0. …

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