Cleverly Drives Bold Shift in UK’s Foreign Aid Priorities

Foreign Secretary Demands Overhaul to Empower British Interests and Counter China

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has called for a rethinking of British foreign aid spending priorities, with a focus on benefiting the UK and its taxpayers. This move is part of a more active foreign policy strategy aimed at furthering British interests and countering China’s influence through its aid programme. reports that Cleverly, upon his promotion last year, was alarmed by the existing priorities for aid spending. He demanded a reversal in the list of priorities, with the foremost being the benefit for the UK and its taxpayers, followed by the impact on the recipient country and then the amount spent. This shift is in line with efforts by other Western democracies to address the influence China has been gaining through its aid programme.


Cleverly, during a recent G7 summit in Japan, warned of the “strings attached” to Chinese aid and the negative implications for international security. He led a session focused on reducing the debt burden on African nations, particularly those affected by China’s policies. He emphasised the UK’s role as a “better, more reliable, more mutually beneficial partner” compared to China.

The Foreign Secretary also expressed his desire to restore the controversial aid spending level of 0.7% of GDP “as soon as possible,” but acknowledged the economic impact of COVID-19 and lockdown measures. Despite the current 0.5% of GDP spending, Cleverly stated that the UK remains “one of the more generous aid donors in the world.”

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has advocated for a change in British foreign aid spending priorities to focus on the UK’s interests and taxpayers. This move reflects a broader strategy to counter China’s influence and strengthen the UK’s position as a reliable and mutually beneficial partner in foreign aid.

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