IT makes me seriously angry to read that Britain provided £1 in every £8 of foreign aid handed out by 29 major countries last year, according to figures this week.
At the best of times it is pretty hard to justify the use of taxpayers’ money in far-flung countries where the impact or relevance to the UK is all but impossible to identify.
Rex Features The African version of the Spice Girls are aiming to empower women in their country through music
But looking around at the state this country is in, I’m more adamant than ever that we need to all but scrap foreign aid.
I cannot see how on earth we can justify allotting our precious money to other countries when there is no evidence it helps. In fact, it’s quite the opposite.
For a start, not one recipient seems grateful.
But more importantly, we are almost skint ourselves, so not exactly in a position to be flash with our cash.
Are you aware that we have to pay £50BILLION A YEAR simply in interest, servicing our own debt.
So that is before we pay off any of the actual debt.
Universal Credit forcing starving kids to take apple cores out of bins at school, headteacher reveals
EXTRA ONE MILLION CHILDREN IN POVERTY
So spending £14billion a year on an ill-thought-through and poorly executed aid policy in the name of an arbitrary spending target seems nonsensical to me.
A couple of recent examples of the kind of thing that some foreign aid is spent on once it has been allocated include fixing potholes in Pakistan and India and helping an all-female pop group dubbed the Ethiopian Spice Girls.
But another story this week shines even more light on how misguided our foreign aid spending is.
Auditors investigating the way £1.3billion was spent through charities found poor management practices and delays by the Department for International Development, which was described as “dithering”, risked completely wasting the money.
The net result is that these foreign aid projects — which spend ten per cent of our aid budget — are “unlikely to achieve lasting change”.
So not only are we throwing money we can not afford at a problem that is not ours, that money may as well be flushed away for all the good it is doing.
How galling is that? Just to reiterate, we are talking about a whopping £1.3billion here — not just a few thousand quid.
This is enough money to change lives here profoundly and on a very grand scale.
But that brings me back to my first point: Why on earth are we giving away such a colossal amount of money when we really are not in a position to do so?
And it was recently revealed that more than 14million people in the UK are living in poverty.
Why on earth are we giving away such a colossal amount of money when we really are not in a position to do so?Karren BradySun on Sunday Columnist
By the way, that figure includes 4.5million children who are living below the breadline — and suffering badly as a result.
More than half of them will not be able to get themselves out of poverty and will find themselves trapped in a cycle that goes on for years, according to a new measure for tracking poverty that has brought together specialists from across the political spectrum.
The scary thing is that even a relatively comfortable income is no guarantee that people can meet basic material needs — if that income is eaten up by unavoidable weekly outgoings.
And this problem is getting worse, not better. By 2023-24 the proportion of children living in relative poverty (after housing costs) is on course to hit 37 per cent — exceeding the previous record high of 34 per cent in the early 1990s.
This could mean an extra one million children living in poverty in the next five years.
In other words, we have a serious problem on our hands.
Let’s stop giving away money that could be much, much better spent at homeKarren BradySun on Sunday Columnist
Many people will no doubt blame austerity for the increase in poverty over the past few years. And yes, sure, it is true that the cuts and freezes to welfare and disability benefits have had an impact.
But just imagine the ways in which £1.3billion could begin to make a massive material impact on the lives of poverty-stricken people in this country.
I believe that we should reserve some money — a couple of billion, say — for overseas catastrophes, such as tsunamis.
But other than that, let’s stop giving away money that could be much, much better spent at home.
Getty – Contributor Food bank volunteers sort through donations
AFP Auditors investigating the way £1.3billion was spent through charities found poor management practices and delays by the Department for International Development, led by Penny Mordaunt
CommentJAMES FORSYTH Corbyn must decide on PM deal or referendum as Brexit rests in his hands CommentJEREMY CLARKSON It’s good if the police get angry, then we might stop the stabbings CommentTHE SUN SAYS Tories are mad to carry on talks with Labour and to contest European elections CommentTHE SUN SAYS You think our nation is humiliated now? Wait until MPs revoke Article 50 CommentJONATHAN MILLER UK might be going to the dogs with Brexit — but at least we’re not France
Implant a moral compass
News Dog Media Georgina Clarke is clearly a ‘terrible influence on daughter Kayla’, writes Karren Brady
I KNOW Jeremy Kyle has interviewed some dubious characters over the years, but the biscuit was well and truly taken this week by Georgina Clarke.
This 41-year-old mother is so obsessed with cosmetic surgery that she allowed her daughter Kayla, aged 18, to dance for, and sleep with, a “sugar daddy” who then paid for both of them to have plastic surgery.
Why does an 18-year-old “need” cosmetic surgery, you may ask.
Kayla blamed the pressures of social media, as well as glamorous celebrities such as the Kardashians for making her want bigger boobs and plumped-up lips.
But instead of reassuring her daughter that she didn’t need surgery, this mother gave it her blessing.
Getty Images – Getty Jeremy Kyle has shone a light on this poorly misguided duo
Plastic-surgery addict says she wants to look like a sex doll and surgery is better than sex on Botched
Georgina justified this to Jeremy by saying she found surgery “quite addictive”, and revealed – unsurprisingly – she is still not happy with her own look.
It’s easy to wonder whether that therefore means she’ll be encouraging her daughter to wine, dine and dance for a few more older men.I find this whole story heartbreaking, to be honest.
As mothers, we are meant to give our daughters self-esteem and confidence, not encourage them to surgically “improve” themselves.
And for a mother to encourage her daughter to fund that surgery, as well as her own, by sleeping with a dirty old man?
The only explanation is that her moral compass is severely and sadly lacking.
About timeMY excitement knows no bounds at the news that a prequel to the hit musical Grease is in development – 41 years after the film hit the big screen.
Summer Loving will follow what happened between lead characters Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Olsson (Olivia Newton John) before they reunited at Rydell High.
I can still remember going to watch Grease when it came out the first time. I got dressed up in a boob tube and skin-tight trousers (just like Sandy) when I was all of nine years old.
And I can’t wait to see the prequel, although I probably won’t wear the boob tube this time around.
Mind you, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve said that over the years so… never say never.
Winners losing in love
AFP Colin and Christine Weir are loaded… but unhappy
WE all have moments of fantasising about just how much better life would be if we won the lottery and never had to work again.
But for all too many people, realising their wildest dreams with a win turns out to be a life change that’s incompatible with the life they have lived so far.
Britain’s biggest lottery winners, Colin and Christine Weir, have turned out to be the latest lottery casualties.
This week they announced they’re divorcing – eight years after scooping the £161million jackpot.
Colin, 71, and Christine, 62, took home the EuroMillions British record in 2011 and had been married for 38 years before their recent split.I guess it’s just another reminder that money really can’t buy happiness.
In fact, let’s all take a moment to count our lucky stars that we haven’t won the lottery this week.
A Lori time
Getty Images – Getty Lori Loughlin is at risk of going to prison
IT’S hard to believe that Lori Loughlin and her husband could be facing 40 years in prison and fines of more than a million dollars for allegedly bribing officials in a bid to get their daughters into the University of Southern California.
I mean, yes, I know that bribing your child’s way through university is dishonest, dishonourable and not at all admirable.
But 40 years in prison for doing so?
That does seem a little harsh.
Kids are foreverIT’S impossible to sympathise with the mum who left her 18-month-old toddler home alone for 15 hours, so she could go out partying in Swansea.
Social workers discovered the baby during a surprise visit and found him abandoned in a filthy nappy.
Justice has been served and his mum was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to complete a 25-day rehabilitation activity.
Far worse, though, she has now lost her son, who has been adopted into another family. Thank God for adopters.
A judge told the woman – who can’t be identified for legal reasons – that leaving her son in such a state was “reprehensible” and “goes against the instinct of any caring mother”, which is true.
Anyone who becomes a parent needs to understand that kids are forever.
I speak from experience, by the way – mine are 20 and 23 and there’s still no independence in sight.
Tear-jerking moment grieving wheelchair-bound dad thanks DIY SOS team for transforming family home after his wife’s death