"Too often today, people are ready to tell us,
'this is not possible; that is not possible'.
I say, whatever the true interest of our country calls for, is always possible!"

- Enoch Powell.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

The Hidden Cost of Foreign Aid: £32.5 million Spent on Taxis, Newspapers, Consultants and Staff Bonuses

At least £32.5 million out of last year’s “foreign aid” budget was spent on taxis, newspapers, staff bonuses and offices by the Department for International Development (DFID), new figures released by that office have revealed.
The DFID’s budget is the only one which will be increased by 37 percent over the next four years, as all other services to British people will be cut by 20 percent or more.
The 37 percent increase in foreign aid will add at least £4 billion to the DFID’s budget, at a cost of £500 per household in Britain.
According to a report, the DFID last year spent more £255,000 on taxi fares alone — in Britain. This spend has tripled in recent years, as staff somehow found the need to travel everywhere by taxi at the taxpayers’ expense.
The department has spent £19 million on “external private sector consultants” during the last year. Taxpayers will be glad to hear that this figure is down slightly from the previous two years, when the DFID “only” spent some £46 million on such “consultants.”
The newly released figures also show that since 2002, the DfID has spent £29 million on office refurbishments, including £11 million on its head office in London.
Incredibly, £98,000 was spent last year to redesign a new logo for UKaid in an attempt to copy the American version of USAid. Exacly why it took nearly £100,000 to redesign a logo was not said.
Taxpayers will be equally pleased to hear that DFID staff used £52,000 worth of stationery last year, and read £90,000 worth of newspapers.
Over the last six years, stationery and newspaper costs for the department have totalled £664,000.
DFID staff are some of the best paid civil servants around.And the official figures released by the department also reveal the favourable terms and conditions DfID staff enjoy.
With jobs currently being advertised on the DFID website such as “Governance Adviser - India,” “Governance Adviser (Public Financial Management Specialist) - India,” and “Global Poverty Action Fund Advisory Board members,” all of which conspicuously have the salary details absent, it is no surprise to learn that the cost of performance-related pay has more than doubled from £4.1 million to £10 million over the last six years.
It seems that the DFID is a rewarding career, as some 19 members of staff were handed bonuses of more than £30,000 last year, just for doing their jobs.
As if that was not enough, DFID workers clailmed expenses of more than £713,000 last year.
Side benefits to working for the DFID are also, to say the least, good.
Education allowances for staff children are so generous that last year 48 members of staff received a total of £1.3 million in private school fees, including leading independent schools Winchester, Marlborough, Roedean and Fettes College.
The foreign aid scandal must come to an end. The British National Party was the first party to call for its abolition, and the latest figures underline the urgency of cutting this outrageous waste even more.

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