LCID statement on Government Aid Review

Labour Campaign for International Development reaction to Oral Statement by the Secretary of State for International Development

These reviews are further evidence of the Government’s lack of vision, ambition and leadership on international development. From failing to keep the Gleneagles promises on the G8 agenda, to delaying the bribery act which would cut corruption in poor countries, Andrew Mitchell has shown himself unable or unwilling to lead. He was even bullied into contributing UK aid money to the Pope’s visit.

In place of this navel-gazing, the Government should be focused on striking a deal at the G20 this year – where action to stimulate global growth, crackdown on tax havens and raise funds through a financial transaction tax could lift millions out of poverty.

To cut aid to Niger at a time of famine is deeply irresponsible. We were led to believe this review would be about improving the effectiveness of British development spending, not putting poor people’s lives in danger. Reform, not cuts, is the answer.

Our concerns:

  • There is a clear risk the aid budget will be raided by the MoD, as it was for the Pope’s visit
  • UNESCO and NGOs warn the securitisation of aid exposes local communities and aid workers to elevated risk
  • Cutting aid to Niger at a time of famine is deeply irresponsible. If aid in Niger is better delivered by multilateral agencies the UK should transfer its funding to them, not withdraw funding completely
  • The rationale behind cutting aid to poor but stable countries must be more clearly outlined. Where a programme was badly run, reform, not cuts, is the answer
  • ‘Cash on Delivery’ and ‘results-based aid’ can be too short term and ineffective. Budget support allows developing countries to build their own national health and education systems, and ultimately be self-sufficient
Posted in: Aid

One thought on “LCID statement on Government Aid Review

  1. David Jepson says:

    Of course the raiding of DFID money for the pope, possible use of development money for military purposes and also a focus on a narrow output / cash based funding system rightly gets heavy political comment

    But think we should stand back and consider some further points

    1) It is significant that a Tory government (for those who remember the 80s at least) is committed to ring fencing international development spend – even if we dont agree with a lot of the details as to what they want to do. This means that the last Labour Government made a very substantial sea change in this respect

    2)The relationship between foreign policy, defence policy and international development is important…. The need to prioritise is also. As is our approach to fragile states (of course Niger should also be seen as such)

    3) A focus on security – for some countries security is needed if economies are to be rebuilt and poverty reduced. But militarizing aid is not the way to do this

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