A Senior Moment: Far too much foreign aid fails to meet its intended recipients

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A few weeks ago I was criticised by a reader for my views on overseas aid (Mercury July 26).

My stance on this issue is that I know local charities will receive my humble contributions in full and they will be used for the purpose for which they are intended, whereas this is not always so abroad.

I have no truck with the “Bongo Bongo land” comments from a Ukip MEP but the subsequent media furore indicates many people share his and my concerns.

Far too much foreign-aid money fails to reach those it is meant to help.

I really cannot understand what justification there is for pouring aid into countries which are running their own space programmes.

And how do we know - when corruption and cruelty is rife and where there is no accountability - how much of it is siphoned off for the personal gain of a bunch of tyrannical despots adding to and not relieving the plight of subjugated citizens?

I do not “question the rich West’s power to change lives” as charged, I question whether the money is actually going to its intended destinations, or even being monitored.

While I am still firmly astride my hobby horse, I am pleased to see leading companies withdrawing their advertising from a certain unsavoury website.

Although I find it difficult to comprehend how any individual can expose themselves to such puerile and hurtful filth (Surely they don’t have to?), cyber bullying must be nipped in the bud before it reaches epidemic proportions.

Our politicians do little more than wring their hands with regret – seeking excuses rather than solutions.

Websites seem unprepared to clean up their act voluntarily, all-the-while claiming to be super-squeaky-clean, so as usual it all boils down to money. Or in this case the lack of it.

And – still in the saddle, when is Rutland County Council going to stop pussy-footing about with this ridiculous waste of time and public money. I must admit to little knowledge or interest in the pros and cons of the potential defamation case but the answer seems straightforward to me. If someone feels strongly that they have been defamed they have recourse to the law – but not at council-tax payer’s expense. Simple!

In the story in the paper today (Friday) we printed incorrect figures about the amount of the UK’s national GDP spent on foreign aid. The UK commits 0.7 per cent of its GDP to foreign aid, not 7 per cent.