Campaigners condemn Tory plans to dissolve UK aid department
Responding to today’s story in the Financial Times (1), which states that Boris Johnson is “planning to fold the UK’s Department for International Development into the Foreign Office if he wins this week’s election”, Daniel Willis (Policy & Campaigns Manager at Global Justice Now), said:
“These reports will be no surprise to those who have witnessed the Conservatives’ increasing attempts to redirect aid towards supporting British economic interests since the Brexit vote."
"The ‘Global Britain’ agenda is not about increasing the effectiveness of aid; it is about promoting a highly financialised, private sector version of development with British businesses and banks at the helm. As the Independent Commission for Aid Compact (ICAI) has highlighted (2), there are numerous risks associated with this strategy. Not only is it ineffective at tackling poverty and inequality, it means that aid money is being spent on private schools, cosmetic surgery clinics and environmentally damaging industries in developing countries. Giving the Foreign and Commonwealth Office control of aid will accelerate this trend with development funding being used to encourage sweetheart trade deals rather than being spent on the most marginalised communities."
"In this scenario, the question is not whether government maintains aid spending at 0.7% of GDP, but how that 0.7% is being spent. British financial institutions and businesses don’t know how to make aid effective. This move would exacerbate the already low levels of transparency and accountability for how the Global Britain agenda has redefined aid for the worse.”
1. 'Johnson plans Foreign Office takeover of international aid budget', Financial Times, 10 December 2019, https://www.ft.com/content/efaf9090-1aa7-11ea-97df-cc63de1d73f4
2. 'The use of UK aid to enhance mutual prosperity', ICAI, 23 October 2019, https://icai.independent.gov.uk/mutual-prosperity-information-note/
Photo: Boris Johnson in 2017. Credit: Kuhlmann / MSC.