03:00 GMT13 June 2021
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    UK foreign aid funding is being used to pay private contractors and consultants and the amount paid to external businesses has increased to US$1.25 billion, according to an investigation that scrutinized the UK Department for International Development (DfID).

    Consultancy firms and external contractors who are earning billions from the foreign aid budget, will be forced to reveal their salaries after an investigation by the Times newspaper.

    Spending on private contractors by the DfID has almost doubled since 2012. The Department was quoted US$15,000 for a blog post and paid US$25,000 for a two-page policy report. 

    The UK International Development Secretary Priti Patel, will review all foreign aid contracts after the analysis showed that consultancy spending had doubled to US$1.26 billion a year since 2012, with British companies overcharging across the sector.     

    The UK spent US$15.4 billion on overseas aid last year, or 0.7 percent of GDP. Out of US$48 billion in aid payouts that were disclosed publicly between 2011 and 2015, the UK has spent US$4.3 on consultants, with British organisations winning two thirds of the contracts.   

    Only recently it was discovered that UK foreign aid money was being diverted to dubious projects and used to support private businesses. Politicians in the UK heard that part of its foreign aid budget — set at 0.7 percent of GDP — is failing to reach those who need it most and much is passing into the hands of private business and multinational companies.

    A spokesperson for the DfID told The Times that scrutiny of payments to external contractors would be done and there is a urgency to assess how much money is being paid to people who work externally for the UK government department.

    ​With billions spent and sent overseas via foreign aid, the fact that the DfID is also paying billions to external contractors affects the amount of money given to those people who need it the most.


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