A number of residents in Yorkshire and Lancashire in England lost their homes when torrential rain caused mass flooding over the Christmas holidays, and the Government has been blasted for failing to allocate more money for flood defences.

Politicians have since been urged to use money assigned for overseas aid to help the flood victims, but Sheen has caused controversy by insisting foreign aid budgets must be protected.

"A lot of the talk today has been about, 'Where does charity begin?... Does it begin at home? Why should we be helping children and people from other countries when there's so much suffering and challenges going on in our own country?" Sheen declared during an appearance on BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"And it is absolutely true. There is terrible, terrible poverty in this country; there are terrible conditions for certain people... And I can understand why people get so worried about giving money to other countries, but of course 0.7 per cent of the national income goes on foreign aid... That is about being a member of the global community, taking that responsibility seriously... 99.3 per cent of course goes on what goes on in this country.

"And the argument, the false dichotomy of pushing British people against foreigners, or shirkers against strivers, it's a false argument... And it allows other people who have certain interests to get away with it... The argument needs to be, 'What is our government doing for people in our own country?'"

His comments sparked complaints from locals in the affected areas, as well many social media users, who accused Sheen of being out of touch. In a message posted on Twitter.com, one user branded Sheen an "LA luvvie completely out of touch with this country" and another called his argument "bonkers".

Sheen has yet to address the backlash.