Monday, 24 September 2012

POVERTY: British aid helped pay for a £2m hotel in Barbados: Anger as millions in taxpayers' cash go to projects in richer nations


Hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money are being used to fund aid projects in wealthy countries such as Brazil, China, Iceland and Barbados.
Despite a Coalition pledge that money would be targeted at only the most needy, Britain contributes to a European development aid budget which spends half its funds on middle and higher income nations.
Among the projects being paid for are a scheme promoting tourism in an  Icelandic national park and a pro-European Union television series in Turkey.
Luxury: The Hotel PomMarine, which was built after the Barbadian Government received millions in handouts from Europe
Luxury: The Hotel PomMarine, which was built after the Barbadian Government received millions in handouts from Europe
And £1.8million has been handed to the Caribbean island of Barbados to build a hotel and leisure complex where 200 youngsters will be trained each year in hospitality management.
The revelations will intensify the row over the UK’s bloated aid budget, which will soon take up 0.7 per cent of our GDP at a time when vital public services are being pared to the bone.
One sixth of the Department for International Development’s aid budget goes straight into the EU’s aid programme. MPs described it as ‘farcical’ that Britain is handing money to countries such as Brazil, whose economy is expanding to such an extent that its GDP has actually overtaken ours.
In terms of GDP per capita, Barbados is wealthier than Portugal, Croatia and Hungary.  
But the EU has spent millions of pounds on the Hotel PomMarine complex, plus a forensic science laboratory, a language centre and support for the nation’s financial sector.
Tory MP Dominic Raab said: ‘It is farcical that the EU spends nearly a billion pounds of UK taxpayers’ money and a significant proportion of Britain’s aid on middle income countries.’ 
Another recipient, Iceland, is also technically wealthier than the UK and is refusing to hand over £2.3billion it owes us following the collapse of its banks four years ago.
Taxpayers' cash has been used to fund projects in wealthy countries
Money is also being sent to Argentina, one of the G20 major industrial nations, which has ramped up the rhetoric over the Falkland Islands. 


Lynne Featherstone, the new Lib Dem minister at the Department for International Development, has denied her boss, Justine Greening, was not committed to the aid programme.
Miss Greening has suggested the budget should no longer be ring-fenced and said she wanted to get ‘more for less’ out of aid.
But Miss Featherstone said the aid budget’s target figure of 0.7 per cent of GDP would be enshrined in law ‘as soon as we can get a legislative slot’, and that her boss was ‘absolutely committed to it’
Yesterday an ICM poll  showed that 70 per cent believe overseas aid should be scaled down, and two thirds said the fact that the aid budget was ring-fenced from cuts was wrong. 
The profligate spending by the EU comes as new International Development Secretary Justine Greening has ordered a review of aid spending after it emerged that vast amounts of UK aid money were going into the pockets of consultants – making some of them millionaires. 
At a Whitehall event for consultants last week, one delegate urged them to come to Barbados to benefit from the largesse of aid donors, saying: ‘The beaches are lovely but so is the business.’
The EU spends about half its £10billion aid budget on middle and higher income nations. The DfID funds about 15 per cent of this.
Brussels has committed £30million to 22 aid projects in China, a country with almost 150 billionaires, despite DfID closing its Chinese aid programme a year ago.
Iceland, Turkey and Croatia receive EU aid to help bring their institutions into line with EU members states before possible accession. Turkey’s economy enjoyed one of the fastest growth rates in 2011, but was the biggest recipient of EU aid with £620million pledged last year alone.
Croatia received £120million from the EU – while the impoverished west African state of Mali received just £13.5million.
The EU channels its aid budget largely through the European Development Fund and a body called EuropeAid. 
An EU spokesman said EuropeAid had a much wider ‘field of responsibility’ than the DfID but that the UK government ‘participates in setting EuropeAid’s priorities’.

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