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European countries 'must contribute more aid to Syria'

MPs have warned the UK cannot continue to contribute a disproportionate amount of humanitarian aid to Syria without other poor countries losing out on assistance.

The International Development Committee said countries such as France, Spain and Italy had "manifestly failed to pull their weight" in contributing to alleviating the crisis brought on by the civil war in Syria.

"The UK should do everything in its power to encourage other countries to increase their contributions," the committee's latest report said.

The UK has already contributed £600m to the relief effort - the second highest total after the United States.

The United Nations estimates almost 11 million people are in need of help as a result of the crisis, with 2.5 million Syrians now living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

Cameron: Aid funds could go to defence budget

Prime Minister David Cameron in the Golden Temple at Amritsar, Punjab, yesterday. Credit: Press Association

The Prime Minister has said the government is considering spending money from the aid budget on peacekeeping and other defence-related projects.

Such a move would see millions of pounds being diverted from the Department for International Development to the Ministry of Defence.

Speaking to reporters on his way back from India, David Cameron said he intends to protect all £10 billion of Britain's aid budget, 0.7% of national income, but that he was "very open" to the idea of pooling resources between departments.

He said the money would comply with international aid spending rules and not be used for combat mission or equipment.

Save the Children: India financial aid cut 'premature'

Despite India’s impressive economic progress, 1.6 million children died in India last year - a quarter of all global child deaths. We agree that in the longer term, aid to India should be phased out as the country continues to develop, but we believe that the poorest children will need our ongoing help, and to cut bilateral aid in 2015 is premature.

We welcome the UK’s commitment to provide technical assistance post-2015, and believe that even if aid is cut to the Indian government, the UK should explore ways to support Indian non-governmental groups that address the needs of the poorest and their work tackling the tough issues that are the obstacles to wider progress – children excluded from health and education because of gender or caste, child and maternal mortality and women’s and girls’ rights.

We welcome the UK’s pledge to commit 0.7% of GDP to foreign aid, and recognise their leadership in development.

– Kitty Arie, Save the Children’s Director of Advocacy


Greening: India aid about 'skills-sharing' rather than money

Britain will no longer give India financial aid from 2015 but will in the future support areas like trade and investment and health.

After reviewing the programme and holding discussions with the Government of India this week, we agreed that now is the time to move to a relationship focussing on skills-sharing rather than aid.

Having visited India I have seen first hand the tremendous progress being made. India is successfully developing and our own bilateral relationship has to keep up with 21st Century India. It’s time to recognise India’s changing place in the world.

It is of course critical that we fulfil all the commitments we have already made and that we continue with those short-term projects already underway which are an important part of the UK and Government of India’s development programme.

– International Development Secretary Justine Greening
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