The worst part of this is, it suggests that the people who said the International Aid budget could be used in better ways were right.

This money could fill the black hole in social care at a stroke – and would go a long way towards clearing funding problems in the National Health Service.

If it isn’t serving its proper purpose – and can anyone deny that sitting in a bank is not what it was meant to do? – then the funds should be appropriated and used for pressing needs.

And Conservatives have been defending this budget line. It’s enough to make the blood boil.

The Times (paywall) reports (is Murdoch turning the screw to remind Theresa May not to hinder his Sky bid?) that the Tories have been ‘dumping’ billions of pounds in aid into shady World Bank funds, to sit there unused indefinitely – in order to keep up the appearance of meeting the government’s commitment to donating 0.7% of the UK’s GDP (gross domestic product, a rough measure of the nation’s ‘income’) in foreign aid, while ignoring its purpose and effectiveness.

According to the Times, at least £9 billion has been transferred like this over the past 5 years. Rather than helping developing countries, the money, which is spread across over 200 different bank accounts, simply sits there – doing nothing except rack up World Bank ‘administration fees’.

International Development Secretary Priti Patel’s only qualification for her job appears to be the fact that she had previously wanted to get rid of it and the funding it oversees. This seems to be the standard Tory qualification for any ministerial role that is supposed to help people – Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt infamously wrote a book, before becoming Health Secretary, that called for the abolition of the ’60-year-old mistake’ of the NHS.

Clearly, to a Tory, maintaining the appearance of doing something is far more important than actually doing it – especially if it helps you put cash into the bank accounts of your backers and allies and ideally while you get rid of the very thing you’re supposed to be looking after. If you hear Tories say ‘reform’, run for cover – or better yet, get the pitchforks out.

Source: Keeping up appearances: aid-dumping shows Tories care for PR, not people | The SKWAWKBOX

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