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  1. ITV Report

Officials 'may have misled' the public over millions in aid to China and India

Officials have not been clear over aid to India and China, an official report said Credit: PA

Tens of millions in taxpayer-funded aid is still being funneled to middle-income countries India and China despite official assurances that support was being phased out, a report has found.

The Government has been accused of potentially misleading the public after it issued statements suggesting that aid programmes in the countries were being ended while in fact "significant" sums are still being paid out.

A total of between £8 million to £10 million is still being spent on programmes in China by the the Department for International Development (DFID), according to the report by the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI).

In India, the department has a technical assistance fund of £30 million for 2016-17 and plans to spend £40 million in development capital investment - loans and equity investments.

It concluded that DFID did not "clearly" communicate that it would continued to spend on both countries after earlier statements gave the impression that all aid to both was being phased out.

While DFID's public statements on the subject have been accurate, the earlier publicity given to exit from China and India potentially created an impression that all aid was being phased out.

Against that background, the reasons for continuing and then scaling up assistance have not been clearly communicated to the UK public.

– ICAI report

A DFID spokesman said: "We are disappointed that ICAI has rushed the publication of this inaccurate report that simply does not tell the whole story.

"As countries build upon their economic development, Britain is determined to strengthen strategic partnerships that facilitate trade, boost business and combat poverty.

"DFID's work supports these partnerships in a manner that provides value for money, always helps the world's poorest and is open and transparent to the British public."