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Aid 'goes to TV gameshow and fish'

Published 25/06/2015

Philip Hammond has ordered a review to ensure the Foreign Office's aid spending around the world represents value for money
Philip Hammond has ordered a review to ensure the Foreign Office's aid spending around the world represents value for money

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond has launched a review into how overseas aid is used, after reports thousands of pounds have been spent funding a television gameshow in Ethiopia and finding female mates for fish in Madagascar.

The Foreign Office has pledged a "crackdown" where it finds taxpayers' money not being spent "wisely", but insisted that most aid money helps to promote UK prosperity and stability.

Almost £7,000 was used in an anti-litter drive in Jordan, while a project to promote "safe and responsible" use of Facebook in Laos in south east Asia cost £970, an investigation by the Sun newspaper found.

Hamlet education workshops in Ecuador cost £5,000, and almost the same amount was spent on a fashion event in Paraguay, the paper said.

More than £13,000 was budgeted for a "Q&A gameshow" which is set to be screened in Ethiopia later this year. A Foreign Office report said the show aims to engage young people "on UK values of human rights and good governance" according to the Sun.

A project to help find female mates for endangered Mangarahara cichlid fish in Madagascar cost £3,400, the paper said, adding that two of the only three male tropical fish left in the world in 2013 died in a London Zoo last year.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: " The Foreign Secretary has ordered a review so that we can be sure that every last penny of the FCO's aid spending around the world is effective and represents value for money.

"Building closer relationships with growing economies is important.

"The vast majority of aid spending promotes UK prosperity and broader stability but there will be a crackdown on projects that cannot show taxpayers' cash is being spent wisely."

The total overseas aid budget last year was £12 billion, the majority of which is distributed by the Department for International Development.

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