The British government is in danger of missing a key borrowing target thanks in part to spending £800 million on foreign aid this year.
The Office for National Statistics says public sector net borrowing jumped £1.3 billion year-on-year in November, meaning the overall total so far this financial year is £66.9 billion.
The Telegraph reports that while total borrowing is still down £6.6bn compared to this point in the last financial year, Chancellor George Osborne still looks likely to miss his target of cutting borrowing to £73.5 billion for the whole year.
The British government is currently committed to spending 0.7 per cent of GDP on foreign aid, but there are growing concerns the money is being wasted and even funding corrupt dictators.
Conservative MP Peter Bone said of the latest figures: “This is a prime example of the nonsense of having a proportion of Gross National Income paid on overseas aid.
“That is close to £1 billion paid to another organisation to dish out to other countries, probably some of which are quite likely to be run by regimes that we would not ourselves want to give money to.
“People say it is right for British taxpayers to pay this money to developing countries. It is not British taxpayers who are going to be paying this money, it is their children. All this money is being [spent] via borrowing.”
In April it was revealed aid staff were being paid up to £1,000 a day in order to meet the aid spending target for last financial year. “Team leaders” on some aid projects earned at least £120,000 a year, including travel, accommodation and security, while some consultancy firms benefitted from 50 per cent profit margins.
One former government aid official told The Times: “It’s a jolly lucrative business, believe me,” adding: “Two areas did well out of the recession — development aid and pawnbrokers.”