SOCIAL networkers paid for their 60p bags of Special K crisps with a TWEET instead of cash – at the opening of The Tweet Shop in Soho, central London, yesterday. WE can accept the rationale behind giving aid to the world’s genuinely needy.
It would require a heart of stone to deny food for the hungry or shelter to those whose homes have been swept away by natural disasters.
One of the firms to profit from the aid budget is Adam Smith International. The London consultancy, which promotes the free market in poor countries, has contracts worth tens of millions of pounds in a single year.
Its work includes building schools in Pakistan, developing the free market in Nepal and reforming the tax system in Afghanistan.
Peter Young, a director of both ASI and its parent firm Amphion Group, made more than £1million in 2010. He receives a salary of £250,000 and paid himself a dividend of £800,000 two years ago.
Defending his payout, he said it was a one-off dividend accumulated over many years, and said: “I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to take pot-shots at success.”
He added: “When people think about aid they think about just handing out money to people, but it’s more complicated than that.
“But our company makes relatively modest profits for doing a very difficult and challenging job in difficult and dangerous places.”
David Cameron has pledged to INCREASE the aid budget to 0.7 per cent of national income by 2014. That would see DfID’s budget rise from around £8billion to more than £12BILLION.
The growth of the budget has angered many Brits who believe taxpayers’ money should be spent on helping cash-strapped families at home who are struggling with the recession.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Ministers have insisted that they need more money to help the world’s poorest, but British taxpayers will be appalled at how much money is being channelled to consultancy firms.
“Sometimes external expertise can be useful, but systematically spending these vast sums on consultants looks like a very bad deal for the taxpayer.”
ORDER: Justine Greening