Campaigners condemn aid minister’s plan to slash the aid budget

Wednesday, 30 January, 2019

Call for a development secretary 'who actually believes in department's mission'

Responding to press briefings this morning that Penny Mordaunt believes Britain’s aid budget to be ‘unsustainable’ and is proposing dramatic changes to the way the budget is spent, Nick Dearden director of Global Justice Now said:

“Once again we witness the obscene sight of a British international development secretary sacrificing the fight against global poverty for her own advancement.

"Mordaunt’s cynical briefing of the press that she is going to take a ‘Britain first’ approach to the aid budget is an attempt to throw red meat to Conservative backbenchers whose support she will need in a future leadership contest. Given that she’s employed to reduce poverty around the world, this is nothing short of scandalous. It is time for Theresa May to appoint an international development secretary who actually believes in the department’s mission.

“In fact, under the watch of Mordaunt and her predecessors, the aid budget has already started to resemble a honeypot which different government departments can dip into to help out with any project which they can’t fund elsewhere. More and more aid money is being diverted into the pockets of big business consultants to pay for projects that are good for big business but bad for reducing poverty and terrible for tackling inequality. This is not because the aid budget is too high, but because it is being used in the wrong way.

“Mordaunt now seems to want to do two things. First, to institutionalise this disgraceful use of aid money – rather than using aid money to help set up decent education, healthcare and other public services around the world, we will see more and more used to set up private schools and hospitals. Post-Brexit, aid will be about securing Britain trade deals and helping the City of London – aiding the global elite rather than the poorest people.  

“Second, not content with trashing the British aid budget, she wants to convince other countries to do exactly the same. The British public must give an emphatic ‘no’ to these proposals.”

Photo: DFID/Flickr