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Foreign aid budget: Why do they duck the easiest cut of all?

Of all the Government’s spending decisions, the most mystifying has been its refusal to cut a penny from overseas aid. Today, that policy becomes even harder to justify.

In a damning report on the EU’s programme, which absorbs nearly 20 per cent of Britain’s aid budget each year, the European Court of Auditors finds that billions are being squandered on white elephant projects and subsidising corrupt dictatorships in the Third World.

In Malawi, where 60 per cent of the population live on less than £1 a day, President Bingu Mutharika has celebrated a tranche of EU aid by buying a multi-million-pound presidential jet.

Lavish: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has bought jets and an official residence, costing up to £100m

Lavish: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has bought jets and an official residence, costing up to £100m

In Uganda, which also receives direct EU subsidies with no conditions attached, President Yoweri Museveni has bought not only jets but a lavish official residence, costing up to £100million.

Meanwhile, astonishing sums are squandered on projects such as an £8.8million job centre in Mali, which has found work for only six people in three years, and a £2.7million ‘Peace Park’ on Sierra Leone’s border with Liberia.

And proving that satire truly is dead, British taxpayers’ money is even paying for Belgians to teach Africans in Burkina Faso how to dance.

As auditors condemn the EU’s cavalier attitude to corruption, mismanagement and waste, do ministers still hope to convince us that ‘every single penny’ of our overseas aid budget is well spent?

While public services are cut and taxes soaring at home, it is inexcusable to pour £1.4billion of our money each year into this utterly discredited programme – skewed by the French, incidentally, to subsidise their own former colonies.

This is not to mention the other 80 per cent of our aid budget, which could go on worthwhile projects such as preserving the BBC World Service.

In the weeks after the election, the Coalition parties casually ditched many of their tax and spending promises, saying the money was simply not available. So why go on clinging to the most baffling and wasteful pledge of them all?

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1377979/Foreign-aid-budget-Why-duck-easiest-cut-all.html#ixzz1OyAxmMPU

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