Don't cut lifeline to the world's poorest and keep giving overseas aid

Charity begins at home is the most over-used – and abused – cliche of all time.

Its original meaning – be kind to your family – is spot on.

But too often, it’s used to attack spending on overseas aid by right-wing politicians.

Fortunately, it’s not something we see a lot of in Scotland.

Today, the Scottish Parliament debates a refreshed international development strategy.

I hope the plan gets the cross-party support it has enjoyed in the past.

Overseas aid is reserved to Westminster and Scots pay their share of the UK spend through our taxes.

The Scottish Government international development work is a voluntary contribution, additional to the UK spend.

It was introduced by Labour first minister Jack McConnell. Back in 2005, he signed an agreement with Malawi to look at ways Scotland could donate expertise and money to help one of the world’s poorest countries.

That commitment has been developed by the SNP, whose new strategy has extended the plan to focus on Zambia, Rwanda and Pakistan, as well as Malawi. Funding rises from £9million to £10million this year.

Read the rest of my column here.

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