Outrage as Britain hands China almost £50million in foreign aid

Sir Iain Duncan Smith insisted it is time to stop giving China foreign aid after it emerged Britain sent nearly £50million last year.

A new report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) found that overseas aid to Beijing was around £48million in 2021/22.

The watchdog also raised concerns about a lack of transparency in how the money is spent.

Former Tory leader Sir Iain described the handouts to Beijing as “bizarre” and called for the cash to be diverted to countries more in need.

The China hawk told the Express: “China is now the second largest economy in the world. It seems bizarre that we would be giving aid to China given their own financial position. Whatever else the Government says it’s time for that to stop and for that aid to be given to countries that genuinely need the assistance and help in developing their economies.”

The amount of overseas aid sent to China has reduced in recent years and is expected to continue to fall.

The commission estimated that it could drop to £10million by the end of 2024.

Sir Hugh Bayley, who led the latest review, said: “While UK aid to China has fallen rapidly in recent years, taxpayers are still not being told clearly how much aid will continue and what it will be spent on.

“From the limited information shared with us, we’ve established that most aid funding to China from across government has ended.

“Remaining aid spend will focus on higher education, English language, arts and culture and, to a lesser extent, human rights.

“Average incomes in China will soon be too high for the country to continue to receive foreign aid and there appears to be no clear Government strategy for how to manage this, which could put some of the benefits from past UK development assistance at risk.”

It comes as ministers have characterised the growing influence of China as an “epoch-defining challenge”.

But many backbench Conservative MPs, including Sir Iain, are pushing for a more hawkish approach to Beijing.

A Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spokesperson said: “We stopped direct aid to the Chinese government in 2011 and the FCDO committed to cut Official Development Assistance (ODA) funded programmes in China by 95 percent from the 2021/22 financial year with remaining funding focused on specific programmes that support British values around open societies and human rights. No funding goes to the Chinese authorities.

“We remain committed to transparency and will continue to work closely with ICAI to ensure that all UK aid spending maintains our high standards of transparency and has the greatest impact.”

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info

Source: Read Full Article