Britain’s foreign aid budget is now so swollen it accounts for £1 in every £7 given by rich countries. A global study shows the 28 leading industrialised nations handed out £86billion between them last year
The latest figures – from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development – show this target was exceeded last year, hitting 0.71 per cent. That was more than double the 0.3 per cent average of the 28 OECD nations. The UK gave twice as much as France, which has a similar population.
Britain spends three times as much per head as the US, whose population of 332million means it gave £61 per person last year. The UK, with 65million people, gave £188 a head. The Daily Mail has campaigned against the waste of billions of pounds in foreign aid, highlighting a number of scandals, including:
- The granting of millions of pounds to China, even though Beijing mounted a successful moon mission;
- The disclosure that more than £1billion was sent to the 20 countries judged the most corrupt by campaigners;
- The revelation that aid ministry officials are the best paid in Whitehall – pocketing £52,700 on average.
- Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg said last night: ‘We are doing more than our fair share in spite of our large deficit, and the high levels of fraud and waste within the overseas aid budget.’
Only five other OECD countries spent more than 0.7 per cent of national income on aid – Sweden, Norway, Luxembourg, Denmark and the Netherlands.
British grants represented 10.2 per cent of Western aid in 2010. Last year this proportion had increased to 14.2 per cent, the OECD said. UK spending rose by 3.2 per cent while in some countries it fell.
Examples of controversial spending include a £30million ‘Girl Hub’ initiative that paid for officials to learn about the lives of teenage girls in Ethiopia – including their equivalent of the Spice Girls
The US handed out 7 per cent less and budgets were also cut in Australia, Belgium and Portugal. But across the OECD aid spending rose – largely as a result of the refugee crisis.
More than £12billion of foreign aid funding – over 14 per cent of that given by the world’s richest nations – came from the UK. When David Cameron took office six years ago the proportion was just 10 per cent
‘We have seen so many examples, including recently, of how this money is being spent in a way that is not appropriate.
‘Other countries are clearly soft-pedalling because they see that we are providing so much cash. We should get back to a policy of spending money when we feel it is necessary, not just because there is this huge box to tick.’
Angel Gurría, secretary general of the OECD, said countries have had to find large sums to cover the costs of a historic refugee crisis in Europe and most have so far avoided diverting money from development programmes.
He added: ‘These efforts must continue. We also welcome that more aid is being provided to the poorest countries. Governments must ensure that development aid keeps rising.
‘They also need to develop long-term options for meeting future refugee costs and the integration of refugees in our societies, while ensuring at the same time that development assistance reaches those countries and people that need it the most.’
The report found that development aid makes up more than two thirds of external finance for least-developed countries, and the OECD wants it to be used more as a lever to generate private investment and domestic tax revenues in poor countries.
Erik Solheim, chairman of the OECD’s development assistance committee, said: ‘We need to remember that the best way to achieve sustainable development goals and avoid future refugee crises is to continue the current momentum of aid flows, particularly to the neediest and most fragile countries.
‘I am glad we have reversed the recent declines in aid to the poorest countries and that most countries aren’t spending large amounts of their development assistance on hosting refugees.’
Last night a Government spokesman defended the aid budget. ‘Britain faces a simple choice: either we wait for the problems of the world to arrive on our doorstep, or we take action to tackle them at source,’ she said.
‘UK aid, whether it is helping to prevent deadly diseases like ebola from coming to the UK from West Africa, or enabling Syrian refugees and other would-be migrants to stay in their home region, is about creating a more stable and secure world – that is in our national interest.
The Daily Mail has campaigned against the waste of billions of pounds in foreign aid, highlighting a number of scandals, including the granting of millions of pounds to China, even though Beijing mounted a successful moon mission
‘It’s also why we have consistently called on other countries, including those in Europe, to step up their aid spending.’ The 0.7 per cent UK aid target has been enshrined in law.
Examples of controversial spending include a £30million ‘Girl Hub’ initiative that paid for officials to learn about the lives of teenage girls in Ethiopia – including their equivalent of the Spice Girls.
Some £3million went to the Chinese to increase ‘awareness’ of British football, an initiative announced during George Osborne’s visit last year.
Another £15million was spent on a drive to reduce the flatulence of Colombian cattle as part of an effort to combat climate change.
The Government has defended the spending, insisting the money is used to ‘tackle world problems before they arrive on our doorstep’
A study into a £230million British aid programme to boost schools in Nigeria found that it had produced ‘no major improvement in pupil learning’. Researchers found teachers at subsidised schools frequently failed to turn up and children were left to play football all day.
A £25million scheme included funding a research project that involved teaming up meteorologists with ‘rainmakers’ in western Kenya, who observe the movements of ants and the strength of the wind.
And £22.5million went on a programme in China that includes a recruitment hotline for the disabled and role play sessions to encourage young people to think about climate change.
Founded in 1961, the OECD says its mission is ‘to promote policies that will improve the economic and social wellbeing of people around the world’.
Sources:OECD Report / DMonline
So we are still shelving out billions of pounds of taxpayers money to fund ridiculous projects in countries where bribery and corruption are endemic, countries that have space and nuclear programmes or are riddled with corrupt politicians and officials. Countries that should be able to support themselves but through a combination of poor education, politically corrupt regimes and religious bigotry and intolerance, millions are left to starve or exist in the most primitive of conditions.
Perhaps David Cameron might like to have a look around his own country to see where the money could be put to better use:-
- Extra money for the NHS
- Funding research into cancer, heart disease, dementia etc
- Investing in education and training for both young AND old
- Supporting industries like steel and manufacturing
- Building more houses that are affordable
- Increasing the state retirement pension
- Improving public transport links
I could go on………………………