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.”
- 2 Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
- 3 Professional big game hunter Ian Gibson crushed to death by elephant during hunt
- 4 Farmer told to tear down mock-Tudor castle after hiding construction behind hay bales
Migrants crossing the Mediterranean: Pope Francis joins calls for EU action on boat refugees
Yemen crisis: Meet the child soldiers who have forsaken books for Kalashnikovs
Alan Rickman admits editing 'terrible' script with friends in Pizza Hut behind backs of writers on Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Rarest Beanie Baby of them all could be sold for £62,500 on eBay
Isis in Afghanistan: Group claims responsibility for Jalalabad suicide bombing that killed 35
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...