Letter: Self-interest must not guide UK aid

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The Catholic Bishop of Salford and Church of England Bishop of Coventry respond to article in The Guardian on UK Aid.

Bishop John Arnold, Chair of CAFOD and Bishop Christopher Cocksworth, Lords Spiritual lead on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs say Britain’s aid budget must be about altruism, not narrow self-interest.


Your article (Aid budget: Ex-minister joins calls for shake-up, 18 March) on the report by the TaxPayers’ Alliance offers an opportunity to reflect again on what we want and expect from our government.

In the suffering of men, women and children caught up in conflict, dealing with the worst effects of climate change or leaving their homes in search of a safer future, we see the face of Jesus Christ.

In these moments, we must turn outwards, away from our own narrow self-interest. We put aside what Pope Francis calls the “globalisation of indifference” that leads to apathy and omission of our responsibilities towards others.

UK aid must always be a demonstration of our concern, compassion and altruism. We tire of being told what’s best for British interests; what is best for British interests is people around the world able to flourish in their own communities and an aid budget focused on that. Poverty is a scandal wherever it is found. The aid budget is one way we respond.

Rt Rev John Arnold
Catholic Bishop of Salford and Chair of CAFOD

Rt Rev Dr Christopher Cocksworth
Bishop of Coventry and Lords Spiritual lead on Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs


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