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Christian charities criticise PM over aid

There's been widespread condemnation of the Prime Minister over comments made about the aid budget. David Cameron indicated the Government is ready to spend the Department for International Development (DfID) budget on providing basic levels of security in fragile countries.

He said:

"I think we have to demonstrate that the DfID budget is spent wisely.

"We should be thinking very carefully about how we help states that have been riven with conflict and war.

"I think it is obviously true that if we can help deliver security and help provide stability and help with stabilisation, that is the basis from which all development can proceed."

He was speaking to reporters as he returned from a trade visit to India where he's been trying to boost business links. But his comments have provoked anger from a number of groups.

Speaking to Premier's Marcus Jones on the News Hour - Nick Guttmann - Head of Christian Aid's Humanitarian Division raised his concerns.

His comments have been backed by Christian charity World Vision.

Chief Executive Justin Byworth said:

"The Prime Minister's correct that security and peace are essential, but long-term stability is about far more than peacekeeping. 

"In reality, it's a complex mix which includes nutrition, health, education, and protecting vulnerable children, which all help to prevent conflict and empower people to cope with challenging circumstances."

The Leprosy Mission said this proposal needs to be challenged.

National Director Peter Walker said:

"We really do see the poorest of the poor and we have a moral obligation, as a country, to help these people.  

"David Cameron's proposition of subsidising the UK defence budget at the expense of the world's poorest people must be challenged."

The UK Government has committed to spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid.

Despite widespread cuts David Cameron has previously pledged to protect spending on aid and defence.

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