AID: More scrutiny is required

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The article by Tony Willis, ‘Why we must revisit our aid commitment’, ably demonstrates the misdirection of financial aid to foreign countries, of which he has intimate knowledge, (Northumberland Gazette, June 7).

Financial aid sent to these countries should be specifically allocated to improving the living standards of the poor, to supplying clean water, to supplying food to children dying of hunger, to preventing eye disease like trachoma, and to the treatment of cataracts and congenital facial deformities, such as hair lip and cleft palate.

It should not be intended to furnish the already sumptuous lifestyle of officials. It should not be intended to fund a space programme, or to provide the means required to build an aircraft carrier.

A prime example of the misdirection of aid is epitomised by the millions of pounds sent to Rwanda during the Blair administration and subsequently during the present administration.

Officials in Rwanda have recently donated an extortionate amount of money to Arsenal football club supposedly to advertise the poor country, where the average daily wage is £1.

The ability to police the direction of financial aid is obviously difficult in war-torn countries where observers would constantly be in fear of their lives.

Failing that, the British taxpayer should be assured that financial aid should be scrutinised more carefully and possibly withdrawn where corruption prevails.

As Tony rightly states, there are poor people in this country who are also in need of our support.

Ian Miller,

Beadnell