I heartily applaud the principle behind Diane Sheard’s plea for ensuring that most UK aid goes to the world’s poorest countries (‘Please sign our pledge to help the world’s poorest’, Your Views, June 25) and it’s good to know that compassion can still be found in this increasingly materialistic age of ours.

UK overseas aid stands at about £13billion per year, this representing the 0.7 per cent of our GNI, which has been arbitrarily imposed upon us by unelected bureaucrats in Brussels. A lot of this money already goes to the poorest countries, but it has been established that only some of it actually gets to the impoverished, while a large proportion is hijacked by corrupt elements or used to fund warring sects.

It is a mistake to think that all other country’s leaders necessarily have the same philanthropic attitude towards the underdog as ours do. It will do no good sending larger proportions of aid to the poorer countries if the sums already being sent there are not properly controlled or independently audited. All you do then is to make the fat cats fatter. Elsewhere, huge sums go to countries like India, which has its own space programme, and other countries which have thriving economies.

Here are just a few of the ways in which it has recently been found that our overseas aid has been spent: 

  • An anti-litter drive in Jordan.
  • Promotion of safe and responsible use of Facebook in Laos.
  • A question and answer gameshow.
  • A project to help find mates for an endangered kind of fish in Madagascar.

I suspect these are just the tip of the iceberg – just how many other ongoing examples doesn’t bear thinking about. One thing for sure is that some people both here and overseas are doing very nicely out of it, at the expense of the starving impoverished about whom Diane Sheard is so rightly concerned.

Sadly, however, as Theresa Villiers is a member of a government committed to obeying Brussels edicts, I suspect her hands are tied and is unlikely to be able to do more than signing The ONE Campaign’s pledge supporting a policy which, paradoxically, is already in force, albeit not achieving its object for the reasons given above.

Finally, I don’t understand what Diane Sheard means when she says: “...ensuring girls and women are put at the heart of global development.” Would she care to elucidate? And what would be the mechanism for achieving this aim?

D Lieberman

Lynton Mead, Totteridge