Aid spending on consultants has doubled to £1billion in just four years including huge bills to hire broadcasters from the BBC and Channel 4, it emerged last night. The vast spending also included £1million for Nigeria, which was shared with US bank JP Morgan and a law firm to advise the African nation on how to spend its vast oil wealth. Aid to Nigeria has been particularly controversial as the oil-rich country has its own space programme. Minister Priti Patel has said privately she will not ‘tolerate the profiteering’
In 2014 the Department for International Development (DfiD) paid £26,000 to hire Channel 4 News presenter Krishnan Guru-Muthy and £14,000 to hire BBC broadcaster Zainab Badawi to host sessions at a two-day aid conference in Mexico, Mr Guru-Muthy promised to give his fee to an international development charity – minus the tax he paid – claiming had no idea it was funded by the Government but Ms Badawi declined to comment, The Times said.
Analysis of 70,000 financial transactions revealed consultancy spending has increased sharply since 2012. Almost half the spending goes to just ten British companies. The newspaper also reported extraordinary lavish spending on individual contracts.
2015: Britain’s overall 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
In another case two consultants were separately paid £12,000 to produce a single six page ‘how to’ note on disaster resilience. Another two were paid £15,100 to write a 30-page discussion paper.
Miss Patel is thought to have said privately she will not ‘tolerate the profiteering by those who have created an industry out of the suffering of the world’s poorest.’
The revelations will increase controversy over Britain’s ballooning international aid budget, which now tops a staggering £12billion.
It is due to increase every year as long as the economy grows, after David Cameron passed a law forcing the government to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid every year.
Backbench Tory MPs critical of the law say it prioritises how much is spent over choosing good projects or avoiding waste and corruption.
Earlier this year it emerged the UK could be sued after building a useless £285 million runway on the remote island of St Helena. Strong cross winds make it impossible for planes to land – but local investors have already spent a fortune preparing for new tourists and want to claim their money back.
On taking the job, Miss Patel – who had previously called for the department to be scrapped, admitted aid money was being wasted and stolen. And she promised to pour hundreds of millions into immigration hotspots to try and deter mass migration to the UK and Europe.
A DfID spokesman said: ‘DfID is one of the most transparent development agencies in the world and we expect the sector to adhere to the highest standards to achieve the best results for the world’s poorest and value for money for the British taxpayer. UK Aid has a life-changing impact on the ground, but DfID can and will do more. ‘The department is examining how we can increase scrutiny of contractor spending because if we want to defeat poverty for good, we need to improve value and impact across the aid system.’
Comment: Dont scrutinise the contracts, just stop them and spend the money on the NHS, Cancer research, Heart research, Alzheimers research as well as paying the low paid more than subsistence wages.
Source: The Times/Daily Mail