'Poverty entrepreneurs' who make themselves millionaires from taxpayer-funded foreign aid budget
by Ian R Thorpe
Britain's growing overseas development aid budget, i.e. the payola doled out by us generous-to-a-fault taxpayers has created a new demographic, the “poverty barons” consultants working for charities and QUANGOs (Quasi - autonamous-non-governmental-organisations)who are paying themselves up to £2 million a year for their work helping themselves and their cronies to money supposedly set aside to help the disadvantaged.
At last some people in Parliament are talking about the farcical injustice of our major political parties' obession with foreign aid. With so much of our own infrastructure falling apart, The Department for International Development (DFID) paid out almost £500million last year to consultants, mostly British, many of whom earn six, even seven-figure incomes, courtesy of the taxpayer. These consultants were doing nothing to help the British taxpayers or our economy, what they were doing to earn their very generous fees was advising our government on how to give OUR money away to foreigners.
The more astute lefties out there will try to justify this by pointing to how much good we do for poor people in the developing world and how this benefits relationships with developing nations. BOLLOCKS. No matter how much money we pour into Africa, South East Asia or South America nothing will change (nothing has changed in the past 50 years) and they will still hate us. The only people it will benefit apart from those do – goody hand - wringy but ultimately greedy and self intertested consultants are the tyrants and their cronies in whose pockets most of it will end up.
The DFID also provides much of the revenue of dozens of foreign consultancy firms. It is currently paying £6million to the University of Cape Town to investigate mental health issues in southern Africa and millions of pounds to US-based organisations, including the Clinton Foundation, the International Food Policy Research Institute and Family Health Inter-national. These organisations are noit about practical help, they are about elitists sitting in ivory towers pontificating about how the rest us us poor, exploited proles should be happy to give 200% of our income to the poor of the third world as a form of apology for the wrongs done them in our name by the same elitist calss as were and are still, crapping on us all.
You may have done a double take at mention of the Clinton foundation getting UK taxpayers money, as The Blessed Hillary is so fond uf lecturing us proles on how we should give more to the poor one has to wonder how many of her own $millions she is coughing up towards this farce.
It is currently paying a Washington-based group, Search for Common Ground, £3.9million to “support the electoral cycle in Sierra Leone”. Consultancy firms in India and Uganda are also receiving large sums. The electoral cycle? WTF? It this a guy going round on a bike collecting votes?
DFID spent more than £20million last year on hotels, including many five-star ones for it's staff and consultants. Next month it will open a 40,000 sq ft Indian branch office in Delhi with 18 meeting rooms and 280 desks — even though the then International Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, said last year DFID would not be in India for “very much longer” after the Indian government grew embarrassed at the amount of aid their country's booming economy received in aid from British taxpayers. The furniture bill for the temporary office comes to almost £400,000.
A Sunday Telegraph investigation showed just how lucrative the aid business can be for the private companies that dominate DFID’s roster.
The managing director of the London-based development consultancy Adam Smith International (ASI), - which is not linked to The Adam Smith Institute - gets most of its income from DFID, paid himself a salary and dividends totalling almost £1.3million in 2010. And the lefties and supporters of the risible OCCUPY movement scream about the greedy bankers.
William Morrison earned £200,000 from ASI and collected dividends worth £1.06million from its parent company, Amphion Group, wholly owned by him and three of his fellow directors.
Amphion Group’s accounts show that it exists only as a holding company for ASI.
Mr Morrison’s salary rose by a twenty five per cent last year, well above the rate of inflation, to £253,000. He and the three fellow directors shared dividends of £7.5million, or almost £1.9million each, which they paid to Amphion Group.
The directors collected salaries averaging £125,000 each.
Adam Smith International, which grew out of, but is now not connected with, the Right-wing think-tank, the Adam Smith Institute, was paid £37million by DFID last year to promote free market economics in the Third World whatever that means. Its total turnover that year was £53.6million, with profits of £5million, up 10 per cent on 2010.
Its work for DFID includes tax reform in Afghanistan, school capacity building in Pakistan and a market development programme in Nepal.
A director of ASI and Amphion, Peter Young, justified the amount paid in consultancy fees by saying: “We raised tax revenues in Afghanistan from next to nothing to £2billion. If you want to get a good job done, you have to get people who know what they’re doing. Our profit margins are on the low side for consultancies.”
Mr Young, who paid himself a dividend of £800,000 in 2010, said ASI employed “in the low hundreds” of staff on DFID contracts. Most earned between £300 and £850 a day.
He said: “If you hire a plumber in London, you’re going to be paying £1,000 a day, if not more.”
I spoke to a couple of friends who live in London, they told me plumbers, electricians, carpenters, roofers and such are not cheap but do not cost anything like £1000 a day so I'd like to know what planet Peter Young is living on. One where it is acceptable for directors of bogus charities to steal taxpayers money it seems. Hey Pete, wanna sue me for that? see you in court :-)
Another overseas development aid consultancy firm, Maxwell Stamp, was paid £16.4million by DFID last year for projects including community legal services in Bangladesh and opposing child marriage in Ethiopia. All good, hard – headed practical stuff then. Its highest-paid director earned at least £326,000, double his salary the year before.
Dozens of other staff of development consultancies substantially funded by DFID pay themselves six-figure salaries. At Hertfordshire-based HTSPE, which got about a third of its turnover from DFID last year, the highest-paid director is on £144,000. The company earned £12.1million from DFID in 2010/11, and is currently involved in the department’s numerous programmes. It is also paid by DFID to run policy development for the governments of Malawi and Nigeria.
Options Consultancy Services, a subsidiary of the abortion rights charity Marie Stopes, runs projects for DFID in India, Africa and Nepal. Its turnover last year was £12.6million — about half of it from the British aid budget. Its highest-paid director earned £233,000.
Health Partners International picked up £7million, more than half its turnover, from DFID in 2010/11. Consultancy salaries in that organisation are up to £133,500 a year.
While almost all other government departments are cutting spending, ministers have committed to increases in DFID’s budget, which will rise by 35 per cent in real terms in the next three years, or more than £3billion a year. The Conservative backbenches might be grizzling about it but their leaders, all totally committed to the ideal of global government, are reluctant to consider the issue. The Liberal Bummercrats of course have a collective attack of the vapours when ny mention is made of cutting aid to the Third World.
“We question why the department was paying consultants large amounts of public money in fees for development work,” a group of Conservative MPs said earlier this year.
Conservative MP Jo Johnson, a member of the public accounts committee, said DFID was having to “shovel money out of the door” to meet its spending target. We can only assume this is because of the public sector accounting methodology employed throughout the developed world of reducing funding to any department that does not spend its allocated funds in full. What a brilliant and creative way to reward efficiency. And what better incentive could there be for executives in the Overseas Aid Industry to give themselves huge bonuses. the money has to go somehere.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, said in a presentation titled Fake Aid: “This is further evidence that the department is failing to ensure that taxpayers’ cash is being spent wisely. Ministers have insisted that they need more money to help the world’s poorest, but taxpayers will be appalled that hundreds of millions of pounds is being channelled to pricey consultancy firms to pay fat cat salaries to their British based executives.
“Spending these vast sums on consultants looks like a bad deal for the taxpayer.”
A DFID spokesman said: “Taxpayers rightly expect DFID to monitor development and humanitarian programmes. That can involve using expert organisations to help ensure delivery and close oversight of the effectiveness of aid projects on the ground, which can often take place in remote or rural areas.
“Those organisations have won contracts to work for DFID through a best value, competitive bid process.”
"Erm ... having been involved with government procurement systems I can tell you that is not quite how it works. When government departments put work out to competitive tender, the word competitive take on a different meaning. The first step towards getting your proposal considered is to get on the government approved suppliers list. Once you know this it is easy to understand why so many senior exectutives of international development charities are former civil servants.
Having presented a proposal, the next step is to be invited to tender a quotation. The deciding factor is often not the bottom line, the successful tenderer will usually be the one whose business proceses fit most comfortably with the bureaucracy, not the one that represents the best value for money. And of course, nobody cares very much what they money is spent on so long as the papertwork is in order.
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