Report: £12bn Annual Foreign Aid Hasn't Furthered Global Political Freedom in 10 Years

Report: £12bn Annual Foreign Aid Hasn't Furthered Global Political Freedom in 10 Years

Foreign Aid has absolutely no effect on the level of political freedom on the countries receiving it, with some countries even becoming less free despite receiving more money, a new report has detailed.

The document compiled by the TaxPayers’ Alliance examines how British aid money has affected 28 countries, using data from a wide variety of organisations, including the Heritage Foundation’s ‘Freedom in the World’ index to measure each country’s economic freedom, and Reports With Borders’s ‘Press Freedom Index’.  

Out of the countries that received aid from Britain, only three – Nepal, Rwanda and Tanzania – had an increased freedom score when foreign aid was increased. By comparison, five saw their level of freedom decrease despite a rise in aid money. These were Afghanistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Somalia and Sudan.

Meanwhile, a further ten countries showed no real change in their score despite receiving more money, and four countries – Ghana, Paraguay, Peru and Zambia – even managed to improve their score despite seeing their aid reduced.

The report comes as the government comes under increasing fire for its policy of enshrining foreign aid spending in law. A bill which has passed its second reading in the House of Commons will compel the government to spend at least 0.7 percent of national income on the foreign aid budget, which is already at £12bn a year.

The Daily Mail quotes former defence minister Sir Gerald Howarth as saying: “This Bill is the sort of thing that drives traditional Conservative supporters to Ukip.

“People wonder, what is the Prime Minister doing? They do not get why he is promising to spend billions more on aid while he is making soldiers redundant.”

Jonathan Isaby, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “With Britain’s public finances in such a horrendous state, it’s crucial that foreign aid delivers results.

“Too often, British taxpayers’ money is spent propping up governments that refuse to grant fundamental freedoms.

“The arbitrary spending target of 0.7 per cent so loved by politicians means that money is spent for the sake of it, rather than for any obvious need.

“Every penny of foreign aid should have one goal – making the lives of ordinary people in developing countries better. If it isn’t doing that, it should be stopped.”

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