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Theresa May: Let UK spend hurricane aid cash where it's needed

Theresa May: Let UK spend hurricane aid cash where it's needed

The government has pledged £57 million in assistance for the islands and has drawn on the resources of the Department for... But an unnamed minister told the BBC the figure would have been significantly higher without strict global rules governing the allocation of the £13billion aid budget.

British territories devastated by Hurricane Irma can not tap into the £13 billion foreign aid budget because they are "too wealthy" under official worldwide criteria.

The way Britain and 34 other developed nations spend their aid budget is governed by the OECD.

These are agreed upon by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, of which Britain is a member.

There are very strict worldwide rules around what officially counts as foreign aid, making it clear that only the poorest countries can receive what is known as official development assistance or ODA.

Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands do not qualify for support from the pot because their incomes are too high. In a statement to the BBC, it said: "This is an unprecedented disaster". This was our primary focus and continues to be our priority.

"There are still ways that we can improve the way that taxpayers' money is used to help the world's most vulnerable people".

United Kingdom police arrest man in Parsons' Green bombing
The threat level in United Kingdom , for the time-being, will remain at " critical ", the top security official told reporters . Forensics officers work next to Underground train at a platform at Parsons Green station in London on September 15, 2017 .

Her comments in a letter to the OECD come after Theresa May's spokesman said the Prime Minister was "frustrated" at the rules.

The government has pledged £57m so far to help with recovery efforts.

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said the Government was "looking at how the current overseas aid rules apply to disasters" such as Hurricane Irma.

Yet removing ministerial discretion over our aid budget deeply undermines the Government's capacity to wield soft power, and all the attendant bad press means Mitchell's dream of aid as a point of patriotic pride is farther away than ever.

As well as emergency supplies, the British Red Cross has also sent six experts to help with the emergency response. Officials claim many millions more will be needed to help with reconstruction.

Nine people were killed in the British territories in the hurricane out of a total of at least 50 dead in the region.

But the Prime Minister's spokesman made clear Mrs May was not happy with the way the rules were operating and stressed that International Development Secretary Priti Patel was leading work to change them.


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