Rapid Responses

Defending UK aid

[Re: British aid policy is harming those it seeks to rescue, yesterday]

Alan Oxley clearly has precious little grasp of British government aid policies. Far from ignoring innovation, as he asserts, last weekend’s hunger summit called for new and innovative ideas to tackle chronic hunger. We work closely with private companies like GSK and Unilever to find ways to make nutritious food available to poor families, and our research will give farmers better crops. It is also inaccurate to say that economic growth is not a priority. We have radically restructured our aid to help create the right conditions for growth, and to help markets and societies flourish. This is essential if the poorest are to pull themselves out of poverty. We know full well that forests are also a major source of income, shelter and fuel for some of the poorest people. However, all the facts prove that the solution is far from as straightforward as Alan Oxley believes. Many tropical forests are on soils which cannot sustain agriculture and are susceptible to fire. Solving global hunger and chronic poverty is far more complex than simply cutting down trees. Instead, we must find sensible solutions which protect forests, help farmers grow more food and help the poorest afford the food they need.

Stephen O’Brien, parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department of International Development



Inflation in the UK has been above target since 2005. That is a very long time to have a “temporary blip”.

I would like to point out that it is Network Rail, a nationalised company, that is forcing up rail fares.

We’ve seen huge increases in rail fares when standard prices are already extortionate. And some people still think HS2 is a good idea?

Extended Sunday trading: increased choice and competition, more jobs, better transport, more economic activity. Let’s do it.