Paul Newton says aid is ‘critical to the UK’s national interests’

In an era of austerity there are hard choices to be made: government departments fight hard to preserve their resources, for strategy without the ‘means’ to implement it is facile wishful thinking. In such times – and given the fact that institutional memory is short – it is easy to lose sight of where our experience provides a clear lesson. 

Paul Newton, Director of SSI, and a number of other recently retired senior military officers have sent an open letter to the Prime Minister arguing that UK’s aid budget should not be cut. Properly focused development assistance – when combined with appropriate security – can lay a firm foundation for stability in fragile states. Sierra Leone is a case where those levers of UK’s National power and influence were properly synchronised and brought to bear over the long-term; and this use of ‘smart power’ has demonstrably improved the lot not just of the State but of ordinary people across the Country. 

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