Scandal of £15M taxpayers’ cash WASTED in anti-smoking classes in CORRUPT countries : Express

A FRESH foreign aid row erupted yesterday after it emerged that Britain was paying for anti-smoking classes in some of world’s most corrupt countries.

In a move branded “astonishing”, the Department of Health is giving £15million in taxpayers’ money to a host of regimes with appalling human rights records. Critics said taxpayers’ cash was being “handed out like confetti” at a time the NHS faced the worst funding crisis in its history.

The money will go to countries where political unrest is rife as part of the foreign aid budget.

Those set to receive the antismoking cash include Cambodia, Chad, Colombia, Egypt, El Salvador, Georgia, Jordan, Madagascar, Myanmar [Burma], Nepal, Samoa, Sierra Leone, Cabo Verde, Sri Lanka and Zambia.

It comes just weeks after it was revealed the NHS had suffered its worst winter on record.

The scheme sparked fury with Ukip leader Paul Nuttall saying: “Our NHS needs a huge injection of cash so patients are treated as soon as possible, but meanwhile here is our government giving millions to support smoking cessation in far flung corners of the world.

“It is more foreign aid madness. It is right the UK gives aid for disaster relief and humanitarian projects but it is nonsense we hand it like confetti.”

The money – which could the wages of 650 staff nurses for a year – is being passed to the World Health Organisation to combat tobacco use in developing countries.

It forms part of the UK’s Overseas Development Assistance and will be used to run anti-smoking campaigns.

The move has reignited debate over the scale and scope of Britain’s mammoth foreign aid commitment, which last year totalled £13.3billion.

John O’Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance: “It is astonishing British taxpayers’ money continues to be spent in this way.

READ MORE : EXPRESS

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