Brit Foreign Aid: Salsa Classes and Coffee Mornings in Britain

And in the category for "Bureaucrat giving the best impression of Mickey Mouse over the last year" is...

Inquiring minds are as it was revealed that millions of pounds of foreign aid earmarked for impoverished countries are being spent instead in Britain:

Despite budget cuts in almost every other Whitehall department, the Department for International Development (DfID) was spared, and has announced £3million spending over the next three years to raise awareness of poorer nations.

In March last year, during the final days of the Labour government, the Department launched a scheme called Global Community Links (GCL) to raise awareness of third world countries.

The scheme enables charities, churches, schools and other organisations to apply for funding for projects intended to educate the public about poorer nations – but the money must be spent in this country.

Grants awarded under the scheme range from £1,000 to £10,000, and some of the projects funded by the the scheme include a malaria awareness workshop in Plymouth, and Afro-Cuban dance gala in Cambridge and an exhibition in Reading about epilepsy in Sierra Leone.

And what did this new day in Britain bring:

At the beginning of this month Twitter was being used by government officials to encourage more groups to come forward and bid for GCL money.

GCL was set up to replace the much criticised Development Awareness Fund (DAF) which paid for projects such as Brazilian dance classes in east London and global citizenship classes to Devon schoolchildren.

Yesterday the Conservative party revealed that such ‘awareness’ spending under Labour totalled £34million over eight years.

Critics question why the DfID has escaped budgetary cuts and are demanding the department restrict its spending to projects in poor nations:

Sam Bowman from the Adam Smith Institute told the Sunday Telegraph: ‘It is a huge waste. It is an outrageous use of money to provide propaganda for the government.’

Matthew Sinclair, director of the Taxpayer’s Alliance, said: ‘It is disappointing that…DfID is still spending taxpayer’s money building the case for more development spending, rather than actually focusing on helping the world’s poorest people as it is supposed to.’…

It seems that certain bureaucrats haven’t gottent the memo on the new austerity yet.


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