cuts aid to Lanka
By Neville de Silva in London
Sri Lanka is one of several countries affected by a British Government
decision to cut back heavily on official aid. Britain's involvement
in Iraq following its invasion of the country with the United States
is the reason why some £100 million in aid has to be reshuffled,
hitting 20 countries some of which are losing official aid altogether.
will be taken out of next year's budget, according to official sources.
How much of the aid to Sri Lanka will be eventually cut is not yet
known. But it is expected to affect not only this year's budget
but also the programmes scheduled for 2005-2006.
The former Secretary
for International Development Clare Short said in the House of Commons
three years ago that the Britain's official aid to Sri Lanka was
At the Tokyo
aid summit earlier this year Britain committed itself to £50m.
A spokesman for the Department for International Development (DID)
is quoted as saying that extra resources could be found for Sri
Lanka provided the peace process moved significantly forward.
The cost to
Britain of attacking Iraq and its subsequent involvement there,
is said to be around £5 million a day which is far in excess
of its "war chest" which the Treasury set aside from its
contingency reserve fund.
It is understood
that Defence officials are already facing a cash crisis. The Ministry
of Defence is said to be discussing "adjustments" to its
£31bn budget, a euphemism for defence cuts. Sri Lanka, along
with countries such as China, Russia, South Africa, Bolivia, Jamaica,
Albania and Kosovo will face substantial cuts in aid. But Sri Lanka
has not suffered as badly as Peru, Honduras, Romania, Bulgaria,
Croatia and Macedonia who will have aid completely withdrawn.