The supposedly cash-strapped British government sent over £50 million in foreign aid to Communist China last year despite previously committing to cut off all aid to the world’s second-largest economy, which boasts a massive space programme and nuclear arsenal.
According to figures released this week by the Foreign Office, £51.7 million in British taxpayers’ money was sent to China last year. While what exactly the money was spent on is yet to be released, the Daily Mail reports that the money was likely directed towards climate change projects, as well as claiming down on the illegal trade in wild animals, a practice that is still pervasive in the so-called Middle Kingdom, particularly for dubious medical benefits in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
The British government first pledged to cut aid to the communist state in 2010, with then-international development secretary Andrew Mitchell claiming that it was no longer “justifiable” for the United Kingdom to continue subsidising the Asian economic powerhouse in a time of harsh austerity cuts.
Last year — over a decade on from Mitchell’s pledge — then-foreign secretary Dominic Raab said that as a part of the move to cut foreign aid overall taxpayer money still being sent to China would be reduced by 95 per cent to a still arguably unacceptable figure of around £900,000 per year.
Indeed, a government spokesperson insisted following this latest news that it “stopped direct aid to the Chinese Government in 2011,” adding that the “[Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office] also cut its aid programming in China by 95 per cent in the 2021-22 financial year, focusing the remaining spend on specific programmes that support British values around open societies and human rights.”
Yet the Independent Commission on Aid Impact found earlier this year that such claims are misleading, as they only covered around 22 per cent of the actual aid spent on initiatives in China. It also noted that aid to China hit record highs in 2019 despite the previous promises to cease the funding.
“In the decade since the Department for International Development announced its intention to end aid for China’s development in 2011, two UK departments and funds have built new aid partnerships and others have scaled up their aid spending in pursuit of a wide range of strategic objectives,” the commission said.
An investigation in 2020 by the TaxPayers’ Alliance found that £81 million was sent to China, mostly between the years of 2019 and 2020.
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Commenting on the continued flows of cash to China, former Conservative (Tory) Party leader Sir Iain Duncan Smith said: “It is unbelievable and indefensible that we are still sending such large sums. They don’t need it, they don’t care about it – it is peanuts to them.”
Richard Tice, leader of the growing right-wing populist party Reform UK, formerly the Brexit Party, described the foreign aid to China as “more obscene government waste,” adding that China is “laughing at our naive, stupid Foreign Office ministers [and] staff”.
The Reform leader went on to quip: “No wonder our taxes are going up.”
Indeed, while the government is apparently content with sending tens of millions in hard-earned taxpayers’ money to foreign adversaries such as China, it is feigning being broke at home, arguing that it is necessary to cut spending on social programmes and increase taxes to the highest level since the Second World War to pay back the debt which was in large part accumulated under the lockdowns during the Chinese coronavirus pandemic.
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— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 17, 2022
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