Critics ask why Britain is giving £1.5bn in aid to six nations with space ambitions
TaxPayers' Alliance says countries with space programmes should not be receiving money from UK mean to be going to world's poorest
Saturday 10 August 2013
It has emerged that six of the eight countries receiving the largest packages of British aid are set to launch their own space programmes.
The six countries, which were collectively given £1.5bn of British taxpayers money last year are funding satellites and rockets that often dwarf Britain's own ambitions in space, according to The Times.
Nigeria, which is set to receive £305m of British aid in 2014-15, is hoping to have its first astronauts within two years. The West African nation, where almost 70 per cent of the country's population live on less than 64p a day, already launched three satellites into orbit.
Critics have demanded to know why some of the poorest countries in Africa and Asia were spending millions on space programmes while still receiving aid money.
India, the world's fourth largest economy and the biggest recipient of non-humanitarian aid from Britain already has 60 satellites in space. The country, which has received almost £860 million from the UK government in the last three years, last month launched the first part of a £154 million domestic satellite navigation network to rival the well-known GPS system created by the United States.
Ethiopia, which will receive £261m this year, announced in February that it was making plans to launch its own satellite and that tests had begun. Pakistan, which received £203m this year, launched its first satellite, Paksat-1R in 2011. Meanwhile Bangladesh has announced it will launch its first in two years, by which time it will have received £196m.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance told the paper that the spending on space programmes increased the public's concerns about the rising amount of overseas aid.
“If a foreign government has enough cash to invest in an ambitious space programme, it should not expect to be receiving cash from the UK which is earmarked for helping the world’s poorest,” he said.
Advocates of such space programmes claim that they are vital to poor countries' economic and social development. It is also argued that they can attract international investment and create jobs.
The Department for International Development, will give £11.3bn in overseas development aid (ODA) this year.
A spokesman for DfID responded to the paper by saying, “No UK aid money is spent on helping developing countries put people in space and in reality these space programmes tend to be about getting essential communications and weather satellites into orbit.”
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
California teacher appears to have hanged herself in her classroom
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found on New York City rats
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company is the UK's leading...
£40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a critical role within the secur...
£20000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The company is an established, ...
£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...