Theresa May 'frustrated' over aid rules preventing Hurricane Irma relief

Theresa May 'frustrated' over aid rules preventing Hurricane Irma relief

There have been claims the figure would have been significantly higher, but for strict global rules governing the allocation of Britain's £13bn aid budget, something that is disputed by Downing Street.

Anguilla, Turks, Caicos and the British Virgin Islands are all considered too wealthy to receive emergency funding from the budget, according to global aid rules.

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).

The spokesman said the OECD rules do not "stop Britain dedicating the money needed for the hurricane recovery and reconstruction effort".

Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands do not qualify for support from the pot because their incomes are too high.

Commons Leader Andrea Leadsom said the Government was "looking at how the current overseas aid rules apply to disasters" such as Hurricane Irma.

Countries are given a ranking according to need, which is meant to ensure the poorest nations are given priority.

"This has been our primary focus and continues to be our priority".

"The manifesto said while Britain is proud to meet the 0.7 per cent target for overseas aid spending, there are still ways we can improve the way taxpayers money is used and to help the world's most vulnerable people".

The spokesman said: "The Prime Minister is frustrated with the rules as they stand".

The Conservatives have said they are thinking of changing the legal definitions surrounding the use of the protected aid budget, and have already stretched the envelope to include security and peacekeeping measures.

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The news came as it was announced the United Kingdom plans to provide a further £25 million in aid to the hurricane-wrecked British overseas territories, on top of the £32 million already pledged.

Meanwhile, the British public have helped raise £1.3 million for the victims of Hurricane Irma in the space of a week.

Over £650,000 has been donated to a British Red Cross Appeal, with the UK Government matching every pound.

As well as emergency supplies, the British Red Cross has also sent six experts to help with the emergency response.

People can search a list of names or register their relatives' details, while individuals caught up in the hurricane can register as being "safe and well".

Prime Minister Theresa May announced the extra funds as Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson made a visit to the British Caribbean islands.

The global development secretary, Priti Patel, has written to the OECD's development assistance committee calling for reforms to reflect the vulnerability of the Caribbean island states, which stand in the path of tropical storms like Irma.

But he denied the United Kingdom had been slow to react.

Between 100 and 120 prisoners are on the loose in the British Virgin Islands after escaping from a prison which took massive damage from the hurricane.

The UK has sent a navy ship along with more than 1,000 troops to the region amid reports of looting and violence, along with 50 police officers in an attempt to quell the lawlessness.

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