Why it's time to cut aid to Brazil

CarnivalBritain's foreign aid programme has historically been a chance to distribute our largesse among the poorer nations on this planet, not fund economies that are richer than ours. That would be just plain dumb.

But as news came this week that Brazil has leapfrogged the UK into sixth place in the world economic league it has also emerged that we are still spending foreign aid in the land of carnival thanks to projects started years ago that are still in place.
And it's not pens and schoolbooks for kids from the favelas, it's £13.6 million worth of UK taxpayer-funds for a list of non-specific and hard to identify schemes, according to the Daily Mail. No wonder they dance in the streets.

There's the one that works up 'environmental projects' that we foot a £9 million bill for plus another £2.4 million on stuff that's too fuzzy to really pin down. Then there's the £1.2 million we spend to 'improve flexibility, agility and responsiveness in the implementation of Department For International Development regional objectives'.

The key objectives here seem all about spending the DFID budget. No wonder Brazil's economy has steamed ahead of us – we're contributing to their success not in importing their goods but in handing out foreign aid.

They, in a twist of the old cliché, must think we're nuts!

Just think what that aid bill of £13.6 million could be spent on at home. It's not going to change the world or avert economic meltdown but when you soak up all those DFID handouts to other economies stronger than our own, like Brazil and China (second in the world economic league) then that's a fair bit of loose change that can be used to make a real difference.

It does seem odd that our public sector workers are being asked to take a hit on pay and pensions while taxpayer money is funding indeterminate DFID projects in a Latin American powerhouse for more than 20 years.

No-one buys the explanation that this is a sort of winding down of funding put in place years ago. Particularly when, following a revision of overseas aid earlier this year, Brazil wasn't on the list of 16 countries who would no longer benefit from our generosity.

So, the game is up Brazil and now we want our ball back.
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