Home > Government, Middle East, News of the moment > Senior Tory accuses EU of “squandering” Britain’s aid budget.

Senior Tory accuses EU of “squandering” Britain’s aid budget.

By Robert Mendick and Andrew Gilligan  29th September 2012.

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A senior Government minister has accused the European Union of squandering Britain’s international aid budget on schemes that often have nothing to do with alleviating world poverty.

Alan Duncan has accused the EU of

Alan Duncan has accused the EU of “squandering” Britain’s international aid budget. 
Photo: Justin Sutcliffe.
Alan Duncan, the minister of state for aid, said the Department for International Development (DfID) was “forced to give” British taxpayers’ money to the EU and was powerless over how it was spent.The charge will raise tensions within the Conservative party because it touches on two of the areas where the Tory Right is most concerned about David Cameron’s policies – foreign aid and Europe.

Brussels insists it does not “impose” its choice of aid projects on Britain but – in an escalation of hostilities – a senior Conservative separately accused the EU of lying. “If you want an EU lie, this is a classic one,” said the senior Tory. “It is a 100 per cent lie. We have been arguing with the EU whenever we can that the money should have a poverty focus.”

At next week’s party conference in Birmingham, Justine Greening, the new International Development Secretary, will face calls from the party grassroots to clamp down on wasteful spending and projects which are not squarely aimed at tackling poverty.

An investigation into overseas aid by The Sunday Telegraph has revealed how £1.4 billion, one-sixth of DfID’s budget, is diverted to the EU for its own schemes – many of them in relatively wealthy countries that the UK no longer believes should receive aid.

Among the findings are:

* £800,000 out of the EU aid budget is being spent on a water park being built in Morocco by the French owners of Center Parcs

* Iceland has received £20 million from an EU fund subsidised by British aid. The funding is to prepare Iceland for EU membership – even though two-thirds of the country no longer wish to join

* a former Lancashire detective turned DfID consultant was given £223,683 for fighting corruption in Jamaica, one of eight consultants paid more than £100,000 for their work

* DfID said a review had now been ordered into spending on ‘independent experts’ whose contracts had been agreed with the previous, Labour government

Mr Duncan told The Sunday Telegraph that the moment had now been reached to review the EU’s aid programme. He said: “We share the people’s anger on this. We are forced to give money to the European Union.

“We ask them to focus aid on poverty but they don’t, and we have no choice in the matter.”

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  1. October 21, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Reblogged this on Ipeanddevelopment's Blog.

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