‘Empire 2.0 here we come’ – reaction to DFID being scrapped

‘Empire 2.0 here we come’ – reaction to DFID being scrapped

Date: 16 June 2020

Reacting to the news that the UK’s Department for International Development is to merge into the Foreign Office, Daniel Willis, campaign manager for Global Justice Now said: 

“This is a terrible decision that takes us back two decades to when UK aid was subservient to the interests of British business. It’s bad news for the fight against global poverty, and good news for suppliers of corporate drinks parties in foreign embassies. 

“No-one who believes that UK aid can have a positive impact in the world thinks this is a good idea. Just last week, MPs urged the government to abandon this merger on the grounds that it would destroy the effectiveness and transparency of UK aid.[1]

“This merger signals a conscious shift to a development model based on a hollowed out state that is forced to rely on corporate partners to function at home and abroad. DFID has been far from perfect, but its formal independence from the Foreign Office has offered some protection from aid money being treated as a slush fund for business interests. Now that’s been swept away – Empire 2.0 here we come.”


1. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm5801/cmselect/cmintdev/215/21506.htm

2. Global Justice Now has a long history of campaigning against misuse of the UK aid budget. See https://www.globaljustice.org.uk/aid

Image: Britannia Pacificatrix, a controversial mural which hangs in the Foreign Office. Credit: FCO