Britain blows up millions of taxpayers for foreign aid projects including anti-smoking classes, ‘friendship banks’ and eco hammams
- Taxpayers’ money is spent on things like ‘friendship benches’ in Zimbabwe
- With over £ 700,000 people can discuss their mental health concerns
- A further £ 1 million will be spent on health promotion activities in Asia
Millions of pounds in taxpayers’ money are ‘wasted’ on foreign aid projects, including eco-hammams in Morocco, ‘friendship benches’ in Zimbabwe and anti-smoking classes in Pakistan.
A report questioning how UK aid is being spent has revealed that more than £ 700,000 has been allocated to the ‘friendship banks’ – intended to encourage people to discuss their mental health – and a £ 1 million project to’ awareness’ of the health benefits. from varieties of dark rice – such as brown and black – over white rice in Asia.
In 2019-2020, more than £ 80,000 was spent encouraging greener hammams in Morocco to ‘facilitate the acceleration of ecological transition processes’. Meanwhile, a budget of 1.2 million pounds has been set aside for an ongoing project to educate children in Bangladesh and Pakistan about the dangers of secondhand smoke.
Conservative MP Peter Bone said the projects were “mind-bogglingly stupid” and “seem almost designed to spend the aid budget.” He added: ‘We need an aid budget that helps countries develop and helps with humanitarian disasters’
£ 1 million has been spent advising people in Asia on the health benefits of brown and black rice
Conservative MP Peter Bone said the projects were “mind-bogglingly stupid” and “seem almost designed to spend the aid budget.” He added, “We need an aid budget that helps countries develop and helps with humanitarian disasters.”
The list of ten ‘wasteful’ projects has been drawn up by the Taxpayers’ Alliance, which has campaigned to cut aid budgets. Her report comes after the government announced that it plans to restore its controversial target of spending 0.7 percent of national income on foreign aid, which has reached around £ 15 billion in recent years.
The United Nations set the benchmark of 0.7 percent in 1970, although few countries achieve it. David Cameron passed legislation binding the UK to the pledge while he was prime minister, and the pledge was echoed in the 2019 Conservative Party manifesto.
Last year, Secretary of State Dominic Raab announced plans to cut the bailout requirement to 0.5 percent as the economy collapsed during the pandemic. However, these plans have since been scaled back due to fears of a Tory uprising.
John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Taxpayers were tired of billions being wasted overseas long before we were hit by the worst recession in a generation. ‘
A government spokesman said: “We are setting priorities for our entire aid budget to make sure every pound we spend goes as far as possible.”