BRITAIN gave China more than £70 million in aid to spend on training teachers and windfarms, it was reported.
The decision channel taxpayers’ money to one of the world’s most technologically advanced nations has been branded “utter madness”.
The figures are contained in the Department for International Development (DfID) annual report and come as tensions between the UK and China over Hong Kong and Huawei continue to rise.
The aid was given to China directly and as share of funding the UK gives to bodies such as the UN to distribute.
The money is being spent on training primary school teachers, combating the illegal trade in wildlife and helping China set up off-shore windfarms, the Daily Mail reports.
It is also going towards teaching people to use technology in country with a huge and thriving tech sector
The figures available and for 2018, the latest year they are available for, was a 29 per cent increase on the amount sent in 2017.
Cash was also channelled through the China Prosperity Fund, which has a budget of £99 million, to spend between 2018 and 2022.
Money this pot is earmarked to help China’s economy, which is set to grow at 3.2 per cent as the world plunges into coronavirus recession, and is also supposed to bring British and Chinese companies closer.
Money also went towards improving schools, dealing with climate change and animal welfare, reforming health and bringing in a UK-style pension system.
Former Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith said: “It is utter madness that we are busy trying to improve the prospects for business in a country that is breaking every rule in the book.
“China is the second-largest economy in the world, and it is winning business all over the world by undercutting firms in the West.
“It has the largest sovereign fund in the world, and it sells more than it imports. Meanwhile, we are helping these Chinese businesses.
“This makes it all the more urgent that we have a strategic review of the entirety of our relationship with and our dependency on China, including this sort of nonsense spending on aid.”
DfID said UK has spent less than 0.5 per cent of its Overseas Development Assistance or development budget in China over the last three years.
The UK only collaborates where it has “commercial expertise and there is a clear national interest”.
It cited a project to help China improve their health early warning systems as an example of its work.
“We offer expertise and skills on shared challenges like climate change and health security or, where there is mutual benefit, we invest money which supports UK interests and creates opportunities for UK business,” said a spokesperson.