There can be no greater symbol of mankind’s prosperity than a giant rocket blasting off to a far-flung planet with its engines blazing orange.
So in many ways, China’s successful launch yesterday of its mission to conquer Mars was a highly fitting moment for the world’s second largest economy.
Certainly it was a bold gesture by the manufacturing superpower which makes no attempt to hide its ambitions to overtake the US to become the world’s premier economic titan.
All of which makes it utterly perplexing – not to say concerning – that, as yesterday’s Mail revealed, UK taxpayers have forked out an eye-watering £71million in foreign aid to China in just one year.
For as ROSS CLARK reveals, each penny given to Beijing would have been much better spent in Britain…
£99million to make China even richer
You could be forgiven for thinking that given China’s GDP is almost five times greater than the UK’s, they should be sending us aid.
And yet in 2018, almost £100million was carved out to finance the Department for International Trade’s China Prosperity Fund over four years.
Despite China being a financial superpower, the fund is designed ‘to address market failures and weaknesses that impede China’s inclusive economic growth and will help China’s ongoing transition to an inclusive, sustainable and productive economy’.
So far, £6million has been spent. After the devastation wreaked by the Covid19 pandemic on the UK economy, that money will be sorely missed.
Only last month the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development warned our economy is likely to suffer the worst damage from the crisis of any country in the developed world.
China successfully launched a rocket equipped with its own Mars rover on Thursday, making utterly perplexing that UK taxpayers have forked out an eye-watering £71million in foreign aid to China in just one year
£500,000 on ‘supporting human rights’
Between April 2018 and April 2019, £559,554 of taxpayers’ money was spent on ‘supporting human rights, democracy and the rules-based international system in China’.
Yet shortly after it received the money, China imposed an unprecedented security law on Hong Kong which has undermined its citizens’ democratic rights to protest and free speech.
Meanwhile, footage on the BBC at the weekend appeared to confirm that the Chinese government has built concentration campstyle institutions to imprison its Uighur Muslim population.
£2.4m for Chinese students in UK
Launched in 2018 as part of the Chevening Scholarship scheme, the Government has allocated £4.7million to help Chinese students ‘pursue postgraduate study at UK higher education institutions, returning to contribute to the development of their home country’.
So far, £2.4million has been spent. Meanwhile, native students are paying through the nose to study at British universities – in the same year the scheme started, the average UK graduate left university with £36,000 of debt.
Shortly before the generous foreign aid policy was announced, the Government jacked up tuition fees from £9,000 to £9,250 a year – a sum students are still having to pay even though many are not currently receiving any face-toface teaching thanks to the coronavirus crisis.
Between April 2018 and April 2019, £559,554 of taxpayers’ money was spent on ‘supporting human rights, democracy and the rules-based international system in China’
£3.86m to boost infrastructure
While we’ve been dragging our heels over the construction of HS2 and Heathrow’s third runway, the Chinese have merrily been covering their country with new highspeed railways and airports.
And yet still our Government thinks we should be helping the Chinese build more – to the tune of £3.86million.
The hope is that China will start to build infrastructure that promotes ‘increased and more sustainable investment’. Meanwhile, Britain continues to rely on the Chinese to finance our own infrastructure projects – notably the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station.
£110,000 to fight money laundering
Just this week, a report by the UK Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee chillingly warned that London has become a worldwide hub for Russian money laundering – with the capital becoming a ‘Londongrad laundromat.’
As the Russia reports leave Britain reeling from the new moniker ‘Londongrad’ it has been revealed we sent £110,000 to fight money laundering in China
And yet the International Trade Department seems to think that Britain is a leading light in the global fight against illegal commercial transactions.
In 2018, it forked out £110,000 to China to develop ‘an effective anti-money laundering system in China, aligned with global standards’.
£85k to improve education
THE scheme to train China’s nursery teachers still has one year to go but has already eaten through £73,823 of the £83,368 budget.
As with so many aid projects, the Government is trying to tackle a problem in China which it has failed to remedy at home.
Shortly after the project was launched in 2018, freedom of information requests revealed that 10,731 nurseries, playgroups and children’s centres don’t have staff with qualified teacher status – a scenario described at the time by then education secretary Damian Hinds as a ‘persistent scandal’.
£1.1m on inclusive financial services
The project, launched in 2019 and due to run for three years, is supposed to help China’s banks operate in a ‘more efficient and inclusive financial system, less exposed to significant shocks’.
Quite what we have to teach the world on the financial stability of banks, following the collapse of Northern Rock and the Royal Bank of Scotland, isn’t clear.
The Government’s time and effort might be better spent addressing serious issues with our own banking system, such as the rise of aggressive overdraft charges.
£15k to bolster their pensions
In 2018, a four-year project was launched with the aim of improving China’s ‘annuity policy and explore the feasibility of… [incentivising] participation in occupational pensions’.
But instead of helping Chinese workers save for a prosperous retirement, that money could have been better spent in Britain, where a year before the project was launched the Financial Conduct Authority warned that one in three British workers are not saving enough for retirement.
£400k on skills shortages
Britain donated £19,000 to support a ‘more skilled and productive workforce helping China’s ongoing transition to an inclusive, sustainable and productive economy’
The project, launched in 2018, is designed ‘to identify barriers to and opportunities for addressing China’s skills gap, and to propose recommendations and interventions in specific sectors’.
Despite the fact it’s supposed to run for another two years, it has already overspent its £400,000 budget – £410,338 to date.
Rather than helping their foreign competitors, the money would be much better spent fixing the acute skills shortages in British companies. Indeed in the same year the project was launched, a Government report revealed that there were 226,000 vacancies which employers couldn’t fill due to a shortage of qualified applicants.
£21k to stop illegal wildlife trade
Since 2018, the UK taxpayer has forked out £20,800 to combat China’s illegal wildlife trade.
The scheme claims to ‘protect wildlife and accompanying vulnerable communities from crime and corruption’.
Yet two years later, it is clear that China has no interest in changing its ways. Take the current Covid-19 pandemic, which is said to have originated in a desperately unhygienic Chinese ‘wet market’ where live animals are sold.
Further, in a blatant display of disregard for Britain’s money, the Chinese have responded to international criticism of their handling of the crisis by reopening wet markets around the country.
£100k to improve animal testing
Rightly concerned about China’s relaxed regulations, £98,256 has been spent on seeking ‘to reform China’s animal testing laws… aligning them and Chinese industries’ practice with internationally-recognised standards’.
It is hoped that this will reduce ‘unnecessary animal testing in cosmetics and pharmaceuticals’.
Quite why we need to be handing money to the Chinese government to stop maltreating animals, when a boycott would be far more efficient, isn’t explained.
£59k to support offshore wind
The year-long project, launched in 2018, was supposed ‘to support China in developing subsidy policies for offshore wind’.
Britain sent China £59,000 in 2018 as part of a project to ‘‘to support China in developing subsidy policies for offshore wind’
But despite almost every other country in the world now pledging to reduce their coal-burning – Britain is committed to closing all coal-fired power plants by 2025 – China’s programme of building the plants is actually accelerating.
In fact, over the course of the Department for International Development’s project, China added 43 gigawatts of extra coalfired capacity – significantly more than the country’s entire offshore wind capacity for the same year.
£22k on business dispute system
The project, which ran from April 2018 to April 2019, was supposed to draw on ‘UK judicial expertise’ to enable China to ‘deal with international commercial disputes’.
It cost almost twice its £12,500 budget, consuming £22,049.
Yet it doesn’t appear to have had any positive effects, with Chinese firms continuing to pilfer intellectual property from Western companies.
Just this year, FBI director Christopher Wray warned that his organisation has ‘about 1,000 investigations involving China’s attempted theft of US-based technology’.
£19k to boost productivity
This programme, gushes DfID, will lead to a ‘more skilled and productive workforce helping China’s ongoing transition to an inclusive, sustainable and productive economy’.
It seems bizarre that we are helping the world’s second largest economy to snatch skilled jobs from our own industries.
A study by the GMB union in 2018 – the year the Chinese project began – concluded that the UK had lost 600,000 manufacturing jobs over the previous decade – many of which have disappeared to manufacturing giant China.
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Rihanna’s father Ronald Fenty says Barbados should have removed Queen as head of state in 1966
The father of singer Rihanna has said that Barbados should have removed the Queen as a head of state as the country reveals it will become a republic.
Ronald Fenty, 66, said the Queen should have been removed as head of state ‘when we declared independence in 1966’.
He told The Times that he can see ‘British people being hurt by the decision’ but that Barbados will ‘still be part of the Commonwealth’.
Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November, 2021.
Ronald Fenty, 66, said the Queen should have been removed as head of state ‘when we declared independence in 1966’
The decision to replace the Queen as head of state is dividing the conservative nation
It was the Queen’s representative, governor-general Dame Sandra Mason, 71, who announced on Wednesday that ‘the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind’.
She added that ‘Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state’.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley wrote a speech quoting the Caribbean island nation’s first premier Errol Barrow’s warning against ‘loitering on colonial premises’.
Ms Mottley came to power two years ago with a programme that included a ‘reassessment’ of relations with the United Kingdom.
The decision to replace the Queen as head of state follows the decriminalisation of cannabis and the removal of Bridgetown’s statue of Horatio Nelson in dividing this conservative nation.
Buckingham Palace has said Barbados’ intention to remove the Queen as head of state and become a republic is a ‘matter’ for the Caribbean nation.
The Queen pictured with Governor-General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018
The Queen inspects a guard of honour upon arrival in Barbados in 1977
Prince Charles attends a wreath laying ceremony in Bridgetown in March 2019
Reading the speech, Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason said: ‘The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian Head of State.
‘This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.
‘Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a Republic by the time we celebrate our 55th Anniversary of Independence.’
Asked to comment on the Commonwealth country’s plans a palace spokesman said: ‘This is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.’
Downing Street said it was a ‘decision for Barbados and the Government there’ but that Britain would continue to ‘enjoy a partnership’ with the Caribbean island nation as members of the Commonwealth.
Left, Queen Elizabeth ll smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 1, 1977. Right, Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown
A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘We obviously have a shared history and remain united with Barbados in terms of history, culture and language, and we will continue to have and enjoy a partnership with them as members of the Commonwealth.’
The country gained its independence from Britain in 1966, though the Queen remains its constitutional monarch.
In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said ‘we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future’.
Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence.
Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic.
The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds in February 1966
Jamaica has also flagged such a transition, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority of his government, but has yet to achieve it.
Barbados took another step towards independence from the UK in 2003 when it replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, located in Trinidad and Tobago’s Port of Spain, as its final appeals court.
Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur promoted the idea of a referendum on becoming a republic in 2005, however the vote was called off due to concerns raised by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.
Barbados: The country’s colonial history
The Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative but came at great social cost
Barbados was one of the oldest English settlements in the West Indies, being surpassed only by Saint Kitts.
The countries’ historical ties date back to the 17th century and involve settlement, post-colonialism and modern bilateral relations.
Since Barbados gained its independence in 1966, the nations have continued to share ties through the Commonwealth, with the Queen as Monarch.
The Barbadian Parliament is the third oldest in the entire Commonwealth and the island continues to practice the Westminster style of government.
Many of the historic Anglican churches and plantation houses across the island show the influence of English architecture.
In 1627, 80 Englishmen aboard the William and John landed on the Caribbean island and founded Jamestown (close to today’s Holetown), in the name of King James I.
The early settlers struggled to develop a profitable export crop and faced difficulties in maintaining supplies from Europe.
However, the Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative and over the next decade more than two thirds of English emigres to the Americas went to Barbados.
But while this shift to sugar yielded huge profits, it came at a great social cost. Thousands of West African slaves were shipped across the Atlantic to work the plantations and workers suffered from low wages and minimal social services.
It is estimated that between 1627 to 1807, some 387,000 Africans were shipped to the island against their will and the country shifted from having a majority white population to a majority black population.
On 28th August 1833, the British Government passed the Slavery Abolition Act, and slaves across the British empire were granted emancipation.
Barbados remained a British colony until internal autonomy was granted in 1961.
The country became fully independent on November 30, 1966, during a time when the country’s economy was expanding and diversifying.
Since then, the Barbadian Parliament has remained a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, which is modeled on the British Westminster system of government.
In 2008, British exports to Barbados stood at £38 million, making it Britain’s fourth-largest export market in the region.
In recent years a growing number of British nationals have been relocating to Barbados to live, with polls showing that British nationals make up 75–85 per cent of the Barbados second home market.
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Mr Johnson, along with Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston, will give a reading at the venue’s first major service since March.
Marshal of the Royal Air Force Lord Stirrup representing the Prince of Wales and U.S. ambassador to Britain, Woody Johnson, are also among those attending.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, left, and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer, right, have arrived at Westminster Abbey in London for the annual Sunday service marking the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain
Chairs for around 79 invited guests, who are all wearing masks, have been placed at the transepts of the church close to the altar.
Each chair has been spaced two metres apart to allow social distancing, with protective plastic screens separating the north and south transepts.
The annual Sunday service usually attracts around 2,000 people to the London landmark as the UK commemorates the first battle in history fought entirely in the air during the Second World War.
However, this Sunday’s event will see attendance significantly reduced and social-distancing measures in place – with the abbey vowing the service will be ‘reduced in stature but not in spirit’.
A spokesperson said: ‘The Abbey is a very large church, it usually holds 2,200, so the guests will be easily spaced out to conform with social distancing.’
Woody Johnson, U.S. ambassador to Britain arrives at Westminster Abbey ahead of the ‘Service of Thanksgiving and Rededication to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain’, today
A member of the armed forces at a service to mark the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Britain at Westminster Abbey on Sunday
It is the first major service to take place at Westminster Abbey since the Commonwealth Day service held earlier this year on March 9, two weeks before the UK went into lockdown in response to the pandemic.
The 11am service led by Dr David Hoyle – the Dean of Westminster Abbey, includes an act of remembrance, during which the Battle of Britain Roll of Honour bearing the names of 1,497 pilots and aircrew killed or mortally wounded in the battle will be borne through the church.
This will be followed by a procession of flags, readings, prayers and music – with a flypast over Westminster Abbey planned at the end of the service.
The Battle of Britain was a major air campaign fought in the skies over the UK in 1940, and although the battle took place between July and October, September 15 saw the British Royal Air Force (RAF) gain a decisive victory over the Luftwaffe in what was Nazi Germany’s largest daylight attack.
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Girl, 14, dies after being hit by a car as two men, aged 18 and 19, are arrested
A 14-year-old girl has died after being hit by a car in Merseyside on Saturday night.
Merseyside Police said two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving after the crash in St Helens.
Officers were called to a report of a collision involving a car and a pedestrian on Blackbrook Road around 9.50pm.
A 14-year-old girl has died after being hit by a car in Merseyside on Saturday night and two men, aged 18 and 19, were arrested on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving
A force spokesman said: ‘Emergency services attended and the pedestrian, a 14-year-old girl, was taken to hospital where she sadly died.
‘Her family have been informed and are being supported at this time.’
Officers urged anyone who witnessed the incident or had any information, CCTV or dashcam footage to contact police on 101 quoting ref 20000569277, call the Roads Policing Unit on 0151 777 5747 or contact Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111.
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