Britain still sending 'millions' to China in aid money as ministers haven't been 'transparent' – watchdog

Dominic Raab previously pledged to cut aid being sent to China by 95 percent

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The UK aid watchdog has called on ministers to be more "transparent" about the sums of aid money being sent to China.

Former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced last year that aid to China would be slashed by 95 percent.

But Chief Commissioner of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact Dr Tamsyn Barton claims millions are still being sent to the country, and officials are not being clear on the exact total.

She also issued a warning about huge amounts of aid money being lost as a result of a botched Whitehall merger.

Dr Barton spoke about concerns she harbours about cuts to the anti-fraud team after the Department for International Affairs was merged into the Foreign Office.

Dominic Raab last year pledged to cut aid to China by 95 percent, when he was foreign secretary.
Dominic Raab last year pledged to cut aid to China by 95 percent, when he was foreign secretary.

Mr Raab last year pledged to dramatically reduce the total amount of aid being sent to China amid concerns over security, human rights and the country having the second-largest economy in the world.

Chinese firms were being assisted with some of the aid money in order to compete with their British counterparts.

The latest published figures from 2020-21 suggested more than £60million was being sent to China each year, but ministers are yet to reveal the total for 2021-22, according to Dr Barton.

Officials in UK Government are sceptical as to whether China needs aid, with the country being able to afford a space programme.
Officials in UK Government are sceptical as to whether China needs aid, with the country being able to afford a space programme.

While it was possible that the 95 percent aid cut pledge was fulfilled by the Foreign Office, Dr Barton said it was unclear if this was the case for funding sent out by other departments such as the Department for Business.

Despite the promised cut, Dr Barton claims 40 percent of UK diplomats' time spent in China was still being spent dealing with development projects.

She told The Telegraph: “We have always felt that the Government hasn't been sufficiently transparent as to the aid that they are spending in countries like China and India,.

“There was insufficient transparency; they are not publishing all the details where they should be. Why should it not be clear what they are spending the money on in China?”

She said the business department were still shelling out unknown amounts to China to pay for research and co-operation on climate change.

She said: “Poorer countries need more money across the board and you’ve got to trade off what you can do on climate mitigation which will hit poor countries eventually, with what you do now for people in Yemen who need food, that’s a complicated trade off."