Lord Ashcroft of the U.K. has decreed the “golden taps” spewing foreign aid money shall henceforth be ceased.
In a letter to the British government, the U.K. billionaire called for the reduction of foreign aid money, signing it “Michael xx,” the Sydney Morning Herald reports. Furthermore, Ashcroft, who last year joined the Forbes billionaire list, told the government not to "cosy up" to U2 lead singer Bono and Band Aid producer Bob Geldof, both of which are known for their work in foreign aid.
"At a time when libraries are being closed and people with disabilities face benefit cuts, there is growing fury over giving away ever-increasing sums to foreigners," Ashcroft wrote on a conservative blog, noted by the Sydney Morning Herald. "[Foreign] aid corrodes civil society and encourages corruption and conflict."
The United Kingdom is on pace to spend roughly $17.8 billion on foreign aid by 2015, and spent $12.6 billion last year, according to the BBC. Government welfare is currently helping around half a million people in England survive.
Not all billionaires share Ashcroft's point of view of course. Last year, Bill Gates argued that countries should continue to provide foreign aid even in a struggling economy or risk hurting "our economic future." Longtime philanthropic ally Warren Buffett shares some of those sentiments, recently helping the former Microsoft CEO sign on 11 more names to his Giving Pledge, a non-binding agreement designed to push billionaires to contribute at least half of their wealth to philanthropic causes, The Wall Street Journal reports.
Despite those good intentions, some, like Ashcroft, remain unconvinced, questioning the pledge’s ability to get funds to the people who need it most.
"A few rich men shouldn't decide on the allocation of many many billions of dollars for the public's benefit, whether it is social, cultural or anything else," German shipping magnate Peter Krämer recently said of the pledge.