MPs demanded an inquiry last night as it was revealed that £71 million of taxpayers’ cash was handed to super-rich China in just one year.
Some of the aid money was used to put Chinese firms in competition with British counterparts.
The revelation comes as China – which has the second-largest economy in the world and can afford a space programme – is rapidly becoming an outcast on the international stage, amid hacking, national security and human rights controversies.
The colossal aid sums were buried in the Department for International Development’s annual report which was quietly put out this week as MPs go on their summer holiday.
The DFiD figures show that £71.6 million was sent to China – whose economy is five times larger than that of the UK – via a combination of direct British aid and a share of funding the UK gives to the likes of the United Nations and EU, who then distribute it.
The money is being spent on training primary school teachers, combating the illegal trade in wildlife and helping China set up off-shore windfarms.
It is also going towards teaching people in one of the world’s most advanced countries to use technology and ‘support human rights’ in a nation with a questionable record.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith last night questioned why the UK was sending money to a country which was ‘breaking every rule in the book’.
The vast amount was sent to China in 2018, the latest figures available, and was a 29 per cent increase on the amount sent in 2017.