A GROUP of Ayr campaigners are blasting comments made from their MP over cutting the international aid budget.

Bill Grant MP recently backed calls made by Tory leadership hopeful Esther McVey to bring the amount of money used abroad back to 2010 levels, in order to reinvest in public services in the UK.

But this has riled Ayr residents, especially local members of anti-poverty campaign, ONE. Dr Stephen Preston, one of its members, sees this as irresponsible and an attack on those in need. He thinks it looks like a step back from helping world poverty.

Stephen told the Ayr Advertiser: “It’s totally wrong.

“What concerns me about the position that MPs like Bill Grant take on overseas aid is that they’re just part of the current political machine with an ideological view of poverty that doesn’t stop at other countries but includes poverty at home.

“When we read of the effects of extreme poverty in 19th-century Britain we are appalled, and we applaud the people who helped end a culture that allowed this to happen.

“The UK as a country should regard overseas aid as an ethical imperative.

“There are so many positives in wiping out poverty in the world.”

Stephen is backed by other campaigners in Ayr who are also members of ONE.

The group, made up of four Ayr locals said: “We agree that charity should begin at home, but why should it end there?

“Why must we cut a budget which supports the poorest on our planet – which makes up less than 1per cent - surely we can provide for needs at home and abroad?

“UK Aid supports children who have fled Syria to get into school, fights diseases like malaria which kill millions, and campaigns against cruel practices such as FGM.

“To step back and say that these issues aren’t our problem won’t make them disappear.”

Stephen added: “If a country such as Britain purports to be ‘Great’, it should have a ‘Great’ ethics, a ‘Great’ sense of responsibility, a ‘Great’, insightful humanity which it extends to all the people with whom we share the world.”