THE British Empire spanned the globe at one point – it was the world’s largest empire.

This led to the saying that “the sun never set on the British Empire”, because it was always daytime somewhere in the empire.

Resources that freely flowed in those foreign empires belonged to and were taken to and used to enhance mainland Britain.

Many former colonies are now independent, with many more countries seeking independence post the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.

Does the UK Government now have any responsibility to support refugees and asylum seekers who have landed on their shores from some of those former empires?

Does the UK Government have the responsibility to ensure those seeking sanctuary in the country are treated with dignity and respect?

Whether everyone coming across the Channel are genuine asylum seekers or economic migrants, is surely to be vetted, but these are human beings, people who may need sanctuary; many coming from former British Empires.

The government has chosen to use the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget, designed to support poverty alleviation efforts around the world, to cover its responsibilities to support people seeking sanctuary in their first year in the UK.

This is legal but it does squeeze the amount spent on global anti-poverty programmes. It should be applauded that the UK Government has stepped up to support refugees and asylum seekers, but it is doing this using the budget which is designed to fight poverty around the world.

It therefore reduced the UK’s already reduced global development programmes by around a third, which is one reason for mass migration.

Supporting refugees and asylum seekers is the right thing to do, and should be paid for by dedicated funding, not from the UKs already overstretched ODA budget.


Bournemouth, Dorset