More than £13billion of taxpayers’ cash was spent last year while we struggle to deal with health and social care funding at home.
Hundreds of schemes are rightly assisted but critics say dozens more do not deserve to be propped up while we have more pressing concerns here.
As the cash-strapped NHS faces its toughest winter on record and the social care system teeters on the brink because of a growing elderly population, many have been left puzzled at some of the foreign aid hand-outs.
While hundreds of thousands of our pensioners will once again have trouble heating their homes this winter, the UK spends £15million on stop-smoking schemes in developing countries.
Britain’s sky-high overseas aid commitment now sees £1 in every £7 spent on aid globally coming courtesy of the British taxpayer.
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Foreign Aid: It’s time to halt waste of our cash abroad
Clearly some of the projects should be abandoned with money better spent here in the UK
Data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development shows the 28 leading industrialised nations handed out £86billion between them in 2015.
More than £12billion – over 14 per cent – came from the UK, which gave twice as much as France.
Less than a month before Chancellor Philip Hammond’s budget, this newspaper says the madness of lavishing money like this overseas has to end as we launch our Stop The Foreign Aid Madness crusade.
We are calling on the Government, still running at a massive deficit, to adopt a common sense approach and reduce our eye-watering commitment so more cash can be spent at home.
Tory MP Peter Bone said yesterday: “One of the things that annoys my constituents and the rest of the country is that we are giving money to projects that are just not justifiable.
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“I wholly support the Daily Express campaign in getting this silly target removed.”
Overseas aid was a central plank of David Cameron’s time in Downing Street. When he took office in 2010, Britain’s contribution as a percentage of the overall global burden was as high as 10 per cent.
The policy has not been altered by Prime Minister Theresa May and it is now a legal requirement to spend 0.7 per cent of our gross national income on overseas development assistance.
The donation is the second largest in the world in terms of volume behind the US, which contributes the equivalent of about £25billion, or 0.18 per cent of the country’s national income.
In 2015, the top five recipients of UK aid were Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria, but millions of pounds are still being given to major economic powerhouses like China and India, nations with their own space programmes and nuclear weapons.
UK foreign aid went to Ethiopian band Yegna
Conservative MP David Davies said: “I salute the Daily Express for drawing attention to some of the ridiculous ways foreign aid money is spent.
“Clearly some of the projects should be abandoned with money better spent here in the UK.”
Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “Misspending taxpayers’ money aids nobody so the system needs reform which would give more confidence to British taxpayers.”
Critics say one of the faults of the UK’s bloated foreign aid budget is that the 0.7 per cent funding level has to be met every year.
It means millions of pounds have to be spent on schemes at the end of the financial year even if the target is not met.
Ms Patel has worked hard to eliminate some of the more spurious schemes
Whitehall sources say International Development Secretary Priti Patel has worked hard to eliminate some of the more spurious schemes on which taxpayers’ cash is spent after being “appalled” at past failures.
But critics think the Government should go further by taking steps to reduce the amount spent on foreign aid, freeing up money for the crisis at home.
Total UK Official Development Assistance rose from £11.4billion in 2013 to £13.3billion last year.
But the Government has been scolded by auditors for failing to check the overall effectiveness of aid spending.
In April, we told how a mentally ill Arab who killed a British student was in line to receive a “salary” from the Palestine Authority, which receives £25million a year from Britain.
Peter Bone MP ‘wholly supports the Daily Express campaign’
It was claimed Jamil Tamimi, who stabbed 20-year-old Hannah Bladon in Jerusalem, could pocket £800 a month as a reward for being a “hero who resisted the occupation”.
Meanwhile, figures show there has been a £160million cut in public spending in real terms on older people’s social care in the five years to 2015-16.
But a Department for International Development spokesman said: “DFID is committed to spending every single penny of its aid budget wisely and without waste.
“Global challenges like mass migration, disease, terrorism and conflict have no respect for national borders.
“If we stand back from this fight we are not only abandoning our moral responsibilities, we are allowing other countries’ problems to come closer to our shores.”
A DfID spokesman said: “DFID is committed to spending every single penny of its aid budget wisely and without waste.
“Global challenges like mass migration, disease, terrorism and conflict have no respect for national borders. If we stand back from this fight we are not only abandoning our moral responsibilities, we are allowing other countries’ problems to come closer to our shores.”