Foreign aid has been granted to countries with space programmes, like India and China, and on academic projects including studying the Tibetan verb and producing ‘cross-cultural’ art films in South Africa.
A report has warned ministers that they need to take control of the £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund, managed by the Department for Business, to ensure taxpayers’ money is not abused and dispersed to “mainly in middle-income countries”, reports The Telegraph.
Such projects included:
- £792,000 granted to the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS, University of London) for a study on the Tibetan verb;
- £537,717 awarded to Loughborough University to research sustainable ways to keep Indian houses cool in the summer;
- £121,000 granted to the Public Health Foundation of India to explore how schools could reduce the consumption of sugary drinks;
- £133,584 was given to Chinese Sun Yat-Sen University for a project looking at how to reduce smoking amongst migrant workers in factories;
- £600,000 in a project led by the University of Oxford to monitor and research air quality in China;
- and £80,000 was awarded to the University of Bright to make 12 films focused on art and its role in “cross-cultural translation” in South Africa.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) April 17, 2015
The report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact noted that funds were being allocated to well-developed countries because UK universities have relationships in such areas, with money handed out through higher education institutions without necessarily the oversight of ministers.
In 2017, the Conservatives pledged to retain the 0.7 per cent of GDP pledge to foreign aid each year, despite criticism that aid money is wasted on projects such as £16 million being given to a project that funded Ethiopia’s version of the Spice Girls for the purpose of “empowering” women and girls in Africa.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 9, 2015
Breitbart London reported last year that the Department for International Development (DfID) was “dumping” billions of pounds into trust funds at the World Bank to give the impression that the money was being spent as the department scrambled to meet the 0.7 per cent target.
A government forecast has shown that aid spending to third world countries will be higher than defence expenditure in less than two decades, with official government projections estimating that foreign aid will outstrip the amount of money given to local councils in the UK in 2017.