Whenever I hear about the UK foreign aid budget (Call To Maintain Foreign Aid, News Views, June 22) I think of that old saying: “Red hat, no knickers.”

Why do we pretend we are still a rich nation?

The national debt is £1.7trillion, personal debt is £1.5trillion, and it is becoming increasingly difficult to conceal these two gaping holes below the waterline of HMS UK.

The EU is just as bad. Members are not supposed to have national debts of more than 60% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) but 16 members (including Germany) have debts higher than this.

The UK’s debt is 88% of GDP; in France it is 95%; and several nations have shot over the 100% mark.

As a result, the EU as a whole is in breach of its own rule. Its average debt is 90.7% of its total GDP.

So there are 28 red hats on display at EU meetings, but no underwear.

Back to the UK, where police, prisons, schools and the NHS are all desperately short of money as the population grows faster than they can.

The list of so-called minor public services that are in the same (sinking) boat is even longer. ODA (Overseas Development Aid) for 2016 is just over £13bn.

That is 0.7% of the Gross National Income of £1,916bn in 2016.

The £13bn is still a lot of money even if it is well-spent but, of course, it is not.

Hot parts of the world are running out of water due to population explosion so aid cannot help.In fact, it makes matters worse because it encourages Third World countries to use water at the level of First World countries.

Industry and industrial farming consume vast quantities of water.

This can only be done in water-rich nations, and even temperate zones like Europe and the US, are now suffering from groundwater depletion.Wildlife, our only true wealth, is crumbling and vanishing as ever-more water needs to be extracted or collected in reservoirs for human use.

What the world needs to focus on is water shortage caused by development, or over-development.

Nations are literally mining their groundwater to feed development but groundwater is not replaceable — it takes thousands of years to collect.

No one has come up with a solution to this monumental problem but it would help if people would take off the red hats and admit that there are serious deficiencies in the underwear zone.

There is no chance of arriving at a solution whilst wearing a red hat, that’s for sure ­— it is pure deceit, and deceit is never helpful.

In fact, it is my opinion that deceit may be illegal in areas where a fiduciary duty is operating.

A fiduciary prudently takes care of money or other assets for another person or persons.

It is tragic that there is so much debt, but let’s not forget the other assets that our grandiose lifestyle is wiping out, both at home and abroad. ­— EDITH CROWTHER, Main Street, Carlton-on-Trent.