British Prime Minister David Cameron's controversial foreign aid target is a costly 'con job' designed to make the Conservative Party seem more caring, a study has warned.
In a scathing assessment, the respected centre-Right think tank Civitas accused Cameron of using billions of pounds of taxpayers' money to 'rebrand his party and cement the coalition with the Liberal Democrats'.
The study warned that the wasteful Department for International Development is almost beyond reform, suggesting it should be effectively shut down, the Daily Mail reports.
It said that future aid spending should be handled by the Foreign Office, which takes a broader view of Britain's interests, including trade.
According to the report, the study suggested that a third of Dfid's vast budget should be handed to the Ministry of Defence to pay for 'dual use' equipment such as helicopters and ships that could be used in emergency relief missions as well as combat.
It called for Cameron's 'exorbitant and self-indulgent' target to spend 0.7 percent of Britain's income on aid to be scrapped, saying there is no evidence it will help the world's poor, the report added.
The findings come as ministers prepare to increase the aid budget by a staggering 30 percent in the coming year in order to meet the Prime Minister's target, it said.
The 250-page study said that there is no evidence foreign aid helps the world's poor such as these refugee children in Somalia, the report said.
The book, by journalist Jonathan Foreman, questions both the value of the extra spending and Cameron's motives for ordering it.
According to the report, he accused Cameron of 'taking advantage of the real generosity of the British people'.
Foreman also suggests that Britain's political elite, who all back the aid increase, are more interested in helping the poor abroad than at home.
He added that 'such people were perhaps more likely to engage with poor Africans and South Asians on their holidays than they are to encounter needy people in their own country,' the report added. (ANI)