Government exceeds international aid spending target by £172m
The Government has exceeded its controversial target for spending on international aid by more than £170 million, according to official figures.
Provisional figures released by the Department for International Development (DfID) show that aid spending in 2015 was 0.71% of national income - putting it above the 0.7% target.
With a total aid bill of £12.2 billion, The Mail on Sunday reported that it represented an overshoot of £172 million.
While small in percentage terms, the disclosure is likely to prove controversial among some Conservative MPs who have long resented David Cameron's commitment to the 0.7% target, arguing the money would be better spent at home.
Tory backbencher Jacob Rees-Mogg told The Mail on Sunday: "There can be no more graphic example of the idiocy of setting such a fixed target.
"This overspend will anger taxpayers who do not want their money frittered away on politicians' vanity."
A Government spokesman said: "These are provisional statistics that will fluctuate and we'll only know the final figure towards the end of the year.
"As an example, for both 2013 and 2014 the provisional estimate was revised down from 0.71% to 0.7%.
"UK investment in overseas development is firmly in the UK's own national interest. Aid goes only where it is most needed and where it will deliver the very best results for taxpayers' money."