Earlier today the SKWAWKBOX addressed the issue of the government ‘dumping’ billions of pounds of international aid, that should be helping people in need in developing countries, into World Bank accounts – to sit there indefinitely, ‘gathering dust’, in order to be able to claim that it is meeting its commitment to spend 0.7% of GDP (over £12 bn) on foreign aid.
It transpires that this is far from the only invidious use of foreign aid funds by Dfid (Dept for International Development).
- luxury apartments
- a shopping mall
- private schools
- a private hospital
It has also put money into tax havens. In 2010, Private Eye Magazine published an investigation that claimed CDC had moved away from funding beneficial international developments to concentrate on profit-making projects that enriched the CDC’s managers while bringing few or no benefits to the poor. CDC was also criticised for selling off one part of its activities at an extremely low valuation – with 60% of this new entity, Acris, going at these reduced prices to the management team. The Global Justice organisation continues to criticise it.
Rather than showing any caution about an organisation with such a controversial history, however, the Tory government is falling over itself to introduce a bill that will give half of the country’s annual £12bn foreign aid budget to the CDC – and potentially even more.
The “Commonwealth Development Corporation (CDC) Bill” is currently going through parliament. If passed, it will allow the government to give CDC £6bn of the UK’s aid budget to spend as it wishes. Under the terms of the bill, this could be increased to £12billion without even the need to seek parliamentary scrutiny or authorisation. The bill is sponsored by International Development Secretary Priti Patel, who is also responsible for Dfid’s dumping of at least £9bn to sit gathering dust and accruing charges in 219 World Bank accounts.
Funnelling billions of pounds into World Bank accounts to simply sit idle in order to maintain a fiction of meeting a spending commitment, while millions starve and suffer disease and hardship, shows that this Tory government has no interest at all in the wellbeing of the poor as long as it can maintain its image.
But pushing through a bill to channel half – or all – the UK’s aid spending into luxury development projects and private schools or hospitals, through an organisation accused of using its funds to enrich those running it, makes a mockery out of the UK’s commitment to aid spending and further shames a government that a reasonable person would have thought could not sink much lower.
Overseas aid could and should be doing a huge amount for some of the world’s poorest people.
But as usual, the Tories have found ways to corrupt even the most noble causes to stuff the mouths of their corporate cronies with gold. To do it, they’re taking food from the mouths of starving people and pissing on their chances of a better future.
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