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Dear Simon,

Thank goodness that once again we have a British government which regards world poverty as a shameful scandal, rather than as some sort of social tonic encouraging thrift and hard work.

But the truth is that development aid as it exists today is not an efficient means of financial transfer. A huge proportion-it rarely drops below 50 per cent-returns to the donor country in the form of contracts and salaries. For technical assistance, now the biggest part of British aid, the flow-back is higher.

An enormous amount of professional energy has gone into making aid projects…

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