A leader of the Black Lives Matter UK movement, which last week shut down London City Airport and caused disruption across the country over the summer, is funded by British taxpayers through the UK foreign aid budget.
The Department for International Development (DfID) admitted on Saturday that at least £50,000 of public money has been paid to Matters of the Earth, whose director and founder Natalie Jeffers has been described by Black Lives Matter UK as “co-founder” and “organiser” of the group, reports The Times.
Ms. Jeffers, from Brighton, East Sussex, is reportedly paid to devise and run courses in “race awareness” and “gender-sensitive governance” through the DfID’s “gender hub programme” which focuses on Nigeria.
A source close to International Development Secretary Priti Patel said she was angry and would be “demanding to know why the courses were ever commissioned in the first place”.
The source, who called the spending “rubbish”, added that it was “tough to see how this delivers for taxpayers.
“Practically helping vulnerable women in Nigeria is the kind of thing people expect and want our aid to do, yet it’s telling that some in the aid industry think the way you do this is [by] buying some online activists’ course off a professional campaigner in Brighton.”
The DfID confirmed: “In 2015 one of our subcontractors commissioned Matters of the Earth to produce small-scale and specific pieces of work. The money was not for the support of any wider agendas.”
Ms. Jeffers reportedly said she did not use DfID funds for Black Lives Matter.
On Tuesday, BLM UK shut down the airport because, according to the group, “environmental inequality is a racist crisis” and “impact[s] on the lives of black people locally and globally”.
However, Ms. Jeffers could not attend the protest herself, which was staged by entirely white activists, because she was flying to an international feminist conference at a luxury beach resort in Brazil.
The 10,000-mile trip generated approximately 3.2 tons of CO2 — about a third of the average Briton’s carbon emissions for a year.
Last month Black Lives Matter UK blocked roads heading to Birmingham and Heathrow airports as well as tram rails in Nottingham city centre.
The group also forced London to a standstill for three days in July, protested outside of the American embassy demanding anti-Israeli BDS-style (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) boycotting of American goods, and blocked U.S.-owned shops such as Nike and Apple – whilst many of the protestors took selfies on their iPhones.