BRITAIN is slashing aid to China by 95 per cent to less than £1 million – with the cash going to pro-democracy groups.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab revealed that the Chinese official development assistance fund to Beijing was being cut from £18 million a year to £900,000.
The move is set to further ramp up tensions between Britain and the one party communist state after they sanctioned five Tory MPs, Peers, lawyers and academics for highlighting China’s human rights abuses against the minority Muslim Uyghur community.
Mr Raab said: “The resulting portfolio marks a strategic shift, putting our aid budget to work alongside our diplomatic network, our science and technology expertise and our economic partnerships in tackling global challenges.”
He added: “In China, I have reduced FCDO’s ODA for programme delivery by 95% to £0.9m (with additional ODA in this year only to meet the contractual exit costs of former programmes).
“The remaining £900,000 will fund programmes on open societies and human rights.”
The Foreign Secretary said half of the aid programme will be spent in Africa, with a third spend in South Asia and the Indo-pacific to promote “open societies, reinforcing trade links and promoting climate change collaboration.”
The statement outlines how the nation will slash the overall aid budget from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent.
In 2019 Britain forked out £67.8 million for various projects in China – up from £55.6 million in 2018.
But officials say the this years total figures will be slashed in comparison.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith – one of the MPs sanctioned by the regime – said: “This is but a start, but I have to question why we have to send any aid to the world’s second largest economy.
“It is welcome but there are plenty of transactions within the UK that need to stop as they prop up a dictatorial, nasty and frankly horrid regime.”
Danielle Boxall, media campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said: “Slashing foreign aid to China is long overdue.
“Previous projects, like helping the Chinese produce rice, saw wanton waste of taxpayers’ cash.
“This should be a stepping stone to a proper and permanent cut in the ostentatious overseas aid budget.”
International Development Committee Chair, Sarah Champion MP, said it is “very surprising that China is still receiving money.”
But she added: “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the magnitude of the aid cuts.
“With our economy set to rebound sharply this year, the logic for the cuts to the world’s poorest is making less sense as time goes on. Developing nations are unlikely to rebound as quickly: they have some time of economic ruin to get through.”
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