Hurricane Irma: UK overseas territories not eligible for aid

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BY ruling that Britain can not use its overseas aid budget to help victims of Hurricane Irma in the Caribbean, the OECD - the meddlesome Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development - is making it even harder to justify 0.7 per cent of this country's hard-earned GDP being allocated to the world's most needy.

Number 10 insisted the UK's aid effort had not been hampered by the rules set by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development based in Paris (OECD). In a statement to the BBC, it said: "This is an unprecedented disaster".

An estimated 1.2 million have been affected by one of the most powerful storms ever to cross the Atlantic.

Yet due to strict rules set by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), none of the £57 million now pledged to this task can be taken out of the legally-mandated aid budget.

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There are very strict global rules around what officially counts as foreign aid, making it clear that only the poorest countries can receive what is known as official development assistance or ODA. This was our primary focus and continues to be our priority.

"We are looking now.at ways in which we can make sure that our aid budget can be used in that way".

But an unnamed minister told the BBC the figure would have been significantly higher without strict global rules governing the allocation of the £13 billion aid budget, a claim disputed by Downing Street.

The source said: "These are British people in British territories and in times of need we will stand by them, absolutely nothing held us back in getting help to them".

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A section of Tortola damaged by Hurricane Irma.

Nine people were killed in the British territories in the hurricane out of a total of at least 50 dead in the region. Priti Patel, the worldwide development secretary, has written to the OECD demanding an urgent review. Prime Minister Theresa May announced the extra funds as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made a visit to the British Caribbean islands.

He indicated the United Kingdom could be prepared to act alone if there was no agreement on changing the worldwide rules.

Mr Johnson said hundreds more troops were being deployed to the region, reaching 1,250 in the coming days.

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