Priti Patel to challenge aid chiefs over Hurricane Irma rules

Posted On: 
19th September 2017

The International Development Secretary will confront aid bosses over rules that prevent British aid money being used in the Hurricane Irma relief effort.   

International Development Secretary Priti Patel will confront aid bosses in a meeting on October 29
PA Images

Priti Patel will challenge the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris, which decides what officially constitutes foreign aid, after it said the British Overseas Territories hit by the natural disaster do not qualify for aid.

The BBC revealed the £57m pledged by the Government to help victims of Hurricane Irma could not be taken from Britain's aid budget as the national incomes of Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands were too high. That meant the cash will have to come from other Whitehall budgets.

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A Downing Street spokeswoman said: "The Prime Minister is frustrated with the rules as they stand. That is why ministers have been tasked with working to change them."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson added: "I think anybody with an ounce of compassion would like to see spending by our government helping these people get back on their feet and getting these British overseas territories helped in the long term."

Ms Patel is set to meet with OECD chiefs next month to make the Government's case for a rule change.

A senior source told the Sun: “At times of crisis and when people are suffering, Britain stands ready to help and assist. That equally applies to British citizens in British territories at this devastating time."