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UK funding wrong projects with aid budget: Charities

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
UK charities say government budget for assisting other countries goes to the wrong projects.

Several major charity organizations have warned the UK government that its aid budget is diverted toward a series of wrong projects in countries that mostly do not need the money.

Save the Children, Oxfam, Action Aid and Christian Aid, among a group of 23 charities, wrote a letter to the UK finance minister Philip Hammond saying that British taxpayers were paying into an aid budget which was wrongly allocated by some ministers to projects with no justifiable reasons.

“We are concerned that not all UK aid is being spent effectively and efficiently and that this means that UK taxpayers are not getting maximum value for money from every pound of aid,” said the letter which was leaked to the Observer on Saturday.

Britain is supposed to spend some 0.7 percent of its GDP on foreign aid. However, many believe ministries like Department for International Development and the Foreign Office allocate the budget to projects that mostly serve the government’s political and economic objectives.

It was revealed last summer in a parliamentary investigation that the Foreign Office (foreign ministry) had allocated from the aid budget to projects on film industry and improving museum infrastructure in China. Another government fund with links to various ministries had used the aid money to build a £700,000 jail wing in Nigeria to allow inmates be freed from British jails and deported to the African country.

The charities said in their letter to Hammond that almost a third of UK’s huge aid budget had been spent in countries that had no need to it, saying that was a violation of the promises to the taxpayers that their money should reach poor countries.

“In the context of increasing public and media scrutiny of the aid budget, it is important that we can clearly demonstrate to UK taxpayers that aid is being spent in line with their own priorities and to help the most vulnerable,” said the charities.

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