Monday September 17,2012
ALMOST £500million was paid last year by a government department to consultants on foreign aid projects, it emerged yesterday.
The Department for International Development paid cash for work in countries including Afghanistan, Nepal and India.
Some consultants are receiving seven-figure salaries for help with DfIDfunded projects and the department is funding dozens of consultancy firms, handing over up to £6million a time, it was reported.
The payments come as other government departments that fund projects in the UK are being forced to scale back spending.
DfID's budget will increase by 35 per cent in real terms to £11.5billion in 2014.
Last night critics said the spending was a waste of taxpayers' cash. Projects include providing community legal services in Bangladesh, tax reform in Afghanistan and investigating mental health issues in southern Africa.
Almost £400,000 was spent on furniture for a DfID office in Delhi. Staff move in next month to share with the British High Commission. DfID says the venture will save millions of pounds a year.
Matthew Sinclair of the TaxPayers' Alliance said the new International Development Secretary, Justine Greening reportedly had concerns about her department's budget. "She must look at cutting these consultancy bills as a matter of urgency," said Mr Sinclair.
A DfID spokesperson said: "The Secretary of State will be sure to bring an accountant's eye to DfID and will be looking extremely closely at every single area of spend to ensure value for money."
|Liveleak on Facebook|