Britain cannot use £13bn aid fund to help victims of Hurricane Irma - report

Posted On: 
14th September 2017

The £57m pledged to help support victims of Hurricane Irma cannot be taken from Britain's aid budget, according to reports.

Under international aid rules the national incomes of Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands are too high to be allowed assistance.

One Minister told the BBC because the emergency relief has to be funded by various budgets across government the funds come from “rather scanty resources”.

Senior MPs declare Government's response to Hurricane Irma 'found wanting'

Theresa May: Government has acted 'swiftly' to help Hurricane Irma victims

Alan Duncan: Government providing £12 million help those affected by Hurricane Irma

The minister claimed five times more money could have been released had the official aid budget been used.

“"These millions (announced by the government) are non-ODA," he said.

"Therefore they come from rather scanty resources. This great pot of ODA, necessary for development, needs to be spent on crises like this and we have to find a way of doing it."

However, the Department for International Development said the relief fund had not been affected by the inability to access the aid budget.

"This is an unprecedented disaster. It is absolutely right that the UK responded immediately to the people affected,” it said in a statement.

"This has been our primary focus and continues to be our priority. We are looking at how the current overseas aid rules apply to disasters such as this one."

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development in Paris decides what officially constitutes foreign aid.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson is currently visiting the British territories devastated by the hurricane.

He is set to spend “the coming days” in the region to see the relief effort first hand.