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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

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