Foreign aid? It’s simply a cynical ruthless and self-indulgent con job says scathing study
- Think tank Civitas says foreign aid target a ‘con job’
- Said no evidence British money helps world’s poor
David Cameron’s controversial foreign aid target is a costly ‘con job’ designed to make the Conservative Party seem more caring, a study warns today.
In a scathing assessment, the respected centre-Right think tank Civitas accuses the Prime Minister of using billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to ‘rebrand his party and cement the coalition with the Liberal Democrats’.
The study warns that the wasteful Department for International Development is almost beyond reform and suggests it should be effectively shut down.
It says future aid spending should be handled by the Foreign Office, which takes a broader view of Britain’s interests, including trade.
The study suggests that a third of Dfid’s vast budget should be handed to the Ministry of Defence to pay for ‘dual use’ equipment such as helicopters and ships that could be used in emergency relief missions as well as combat.
And it calls for Mr Cameron’s ‘exorbitant and self-indulgent’ target to spend 0.7 per cent of Britain’s income on aid to be scrapped, saying there is no evidence it will help the world’s poor.
The findings come as ministers prepare to increase the aid budget by a staggering 30 per cent in the coming year in order to meet the Prime Minister’s target.
Total aid spending will rise from £8.65billion in the 2012-2013 financial year to £11.3billion in 2013-2014 – an increase of £2.65billion.
Today’s 250-page study will make uncomfortable reading for Mr Cameron, who has stuck to his pre-election aid pledge despite imposing austerity measures on virtually every other area of public spending.
Mr Foreman says increased aid spending has been used by the Prime Minister to ‘detoxify’ the Tory image, describing it as ‘one of the most expensive marketing campaigns in history’.
He accuses Mr Cameron of ‘taking advantage of the real generosity of the British people’, adding: ‘A set of policies trumpeted as manifesting generosity is in fact a cynical, ruthless and morally reprehensible con job pushed by marketing gurus for whom their real-world effects in the underdeveloped world are largely irrelevant.’
Mr Foreman also suggests that Britain’s political elite, who all back the aid increase, are more interested in helping the poor abroad than at home. ‘Such people are perhaps more likely to engage with poor Africans and South Asians on their holidays than they are to encounter needy people in their own country,’ he writes.
Isn’t it funny? Those of us who raised their heads above the parapet have been labelled ‘racist’! I tell you this; I’d sooner be called a racist than be a traitor!