Bono campaign group accuses UK of wasting international aid budget

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Campaign group One, founded by U2 frontman, is calling for a reorganisation of aid spending

A development campaign group founded by Bono has accused the UK government of wasting a large chunk of its international aid budget and called for spending on overseas assistance to be cut by £1.6bn.

In a report that echoes criticisms by some Conservative MPs, the U2 singer’s One campaign said there was too much spending on projects that failed to reduce poverty.

£21m spent by the Home Office on preventing migration and smuggling, with no information about how it would help reduce poverty.

£92m spent by the business department on the “Newton Fund”, which develops science and innovation partnerships. One said this money was in effect tied aid that targeted richer countries, and had been criticised by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact.

£287m spent on frontline diplomatic spending by the Foreign Office, which covered part of the costs of British diplomatic work in developing countries.

£7m spent on the FCO’s western Balkans programme, which provides limited information on how money is being spent or the results achieved. One said this was worrying in light of the prime minister’s desire to see more spent in that region.

£20m on China’s Prosperity Fund programme, which aims to “produce commercial benefits for international companies, including UK business”.

£58m spent on the Chevening Scholarship Fund, which One said was in effect tied to UK institutions and only open to students with a bachelor’s degree, who were rarely the most marginalised.

£36m spent on the Prosperity Fund’s global trade programme, which targeted middle-income countries and aimed to bolster UK trade.

£18m spent on the Iraqi Governance and Resilience programme.

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