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VIDEO: Victory for taxpayers as £5.2m support for Ethiopian girl band SCRAPPED after outrage


BRITISH taxpayers’ money will no longer be used to fund an Ethiopian pop group, the Government has announced.

The five-piece band – named Yegna – was handed £4million in 2013 as part of a wider project to help empower women in Ethiopia.

And it received a further £5.2million from the foreign aid budget in 2015 despite a widespread outcry from MPs and taxpayers.

But ministers have now pulled the plug on the funding.

The Department for International Development (DFID) confirmed its partnership with the Girl Effect effect has ended.

A DFID spokesman said: “Empowering women and girls around the world remains a priority.

“But we judge there are more effective ways to invest UK aid and to deliver even better results for the world’s poorest and value for taxpayers’ money.”

Senior Tory Nigel Evans hailed the announcement as a “great victory for common sense”.

He added: “[DFID minister Priti Patel] can now ensure that the money that people want to see spent on the very poorest and saving lives.

“That money will now be spent far more effectively.”

Priti PatelGETTY

DFID minister Priti Patel has pulled the plug on the band’s funding

Fellow Tory MP David Nuttall said: “I’m glad to hear that the Government is listening but it doesn’t mean that everything is now fixed.

“We must continue to ensure that taxpayers get real value for money.”

And Ukip’s foreign aid spokeswoman Lisa Duffy called on the Government to reduce “the amount of money wasted on aid” further.

Nigel EvansGETTY

Senior Tory Nigel Evans hailed Ms Patel’s ‘common sense’ decision

This is certainly a step in the right direction

John O’Connell

John O’Connell, Chief Executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, told Express.co.uk: “This is certainly a step in the right direction.

British taxpayers are a generous people and have always been happy to stand by the world’s most vulnerable.

“But the money that leaves these shores must be spent efficiently and effectively.”

Spice GirlsGETTY

Girl power: Yegna have been compared to 90s hitmakers the Spice Girls

A Girl Effect spokesman insisted the group has “achieved irreversible momentum” thanks to the funding from British taxpayers.

He added: “New ideas are often resisted and sometimes wilfully misrepresented.

“Our work continues with the confidence we gain from the feedback of girls and their communities on the ground.”