LONDON: Britain increased its spending on overseas aid programmes in 2015, official data released on Thursday showed, with Pakistan and Ethiopia receiving the largest share of the money. Britain’s Department for International Development spent 12.1 billion pounds ($15 billion) last year, a rise of nearly 4 percent from $14.55 billion in 2014. The govt has come under increasing scrutiny over how it spends its multi-billion dollar aid budget, which some lawmakers say would be better spent at home. In September, the Thomson Reuters Foundation revealed that Britain lost 40 percent more money through fraud in its foreign aid programmes in 2015/16 compared to the previous year.
DfID, which operates predominantly through partner organisations, including charities, private companies and UN agencies, said the rise in the level of fraud was due to “heightened scrutiny” by the department. According to Thursday’s figures, Pakistan had the largest share of UK aid money with 374 million pounds, followed by Ethiopia with 339 million pounds. These were followed by Afghanistan, Nigeria and Syria. Last month, Britain pledged 1 billion pounds to a global fund to tackle HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.