MP Rushanara Ali “cautiously” welcomes changes to Britain’s overseas aid policy

RUSHANARA Ali, MP for Bethnal Green and Bow, has “cautiously welcomed” a government review into its overseas aid strategy.

Ms Ali, part of Labour’s shadow international development team, said she was pleased that the overseas aid budget is to increase by a third in this Parliament.

Following an announcement by International secretary Andrew Mitchell yesterday, she was also pleased that there will be rises in funding to Bangladesh and Somalia where she said many of her constituents have a direct interest.

As part of the overhaul of the �7.8 billion budget, the government will end direct aid to 16 countries including Russia, China and Iraq.

Ms Ali said: “Where the aid is to end, particularly for countries such as Burundi, we must ensure that they aren’t left high and dry.”

She also asked for the government to legally commit to increasing aid to 0.7 per cent of the country’s gross national income by 2013.

Aid to Bangladesh will double in the next four years under the Department for International Development’s policy plans.

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Pakistan is also set to benefit - by 2015 the country could become the UK’s biggest aid recipient.