Britain overspent its foreign aid budget by nearly £200 million in 2015, contributing to a massive £513 million rise in foreign aid following the government’s decision to set a controversial new target.
Overseas aid spending has now risen to an all time high of £12.2 billion, according to figures published by the Mail on Sunday via the Department for International Development (DFID). They show the government overshot its own target by £172 million at a time when it is being called on to protect British jobs at home and invest in the future of the troubled steel industry.
The government’s foreign aid budget is fixed at 0.7 percent of GDP. In his 2015 budget statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the sum was expected to rise from £11.1 bn to hit £16.3bn by 2020.
But the new statistics quietly released on the DFID’s website show that the government is not only meeting the target, it exceeded it by £172 million. Although the excess spend is only 0.01 per cent of GNI, the sheer scale of our national income means it is a vast amount of taxpayer money that could be used at home.
Last night, Tory MP Jacob Rees-Mogg told the newspaper: “There can be no more graphic example of the idiocy of setting such a fixed target. This overspend will anger taxpayers who do not want their money frittered away on politicians’ vanity.”
The Mail on Sunday investigation revealed examples of how taxpayers’ money is being spent abroad, including:
- More than £700 million spent on education in Pakistan where local officials pocket enormous sums by creating fake teaching jobs and claiming for them.
- Up to £90 million spent on reviving the Nigerian leather tanning industry.
- Around £9,000 a year each going to two jailed Palestinian terrorists who brutally stabbed a British woman and murdered her friend. The money comes indirectly from British aid.
The political row escalated as politicians from former Tory Chancellor Nigel Lawson to anti-child poverty campaigner and ex-Labour Minister Frank Field spoke out against the 0.7 per cent target.
The Mail on Sunday also disclosed that Mr Cameron turned down calls to delay the 0.7 per cent target “to avoid upsetting Bob Geldof”.
This is not the first time that Mr Cameron’s desire to send funds overseas at the expense of the needs of British taxpayers has been called into question.
As Breitbart London reported, last December the UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage called on the British government to divert money from the country’s international aid budget to help communities in the UK affected by flooding in the wake of Storm Desmond.
Britain is a significant contributor to global aid. Earlier this year, it became the first country in the G7 to honour its commitment to ringfencing 0.7 per cent of gross national income for foreign aid.
That means that 7p of every £10 raised from taxpayers is spent on overseas development.
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