The Daily Express has published an article today with a number of claims about the development budget, including that the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income on development means money is rushed out of the door.
The test of whether spending is good or not, is not when it is spent, but its quality. We are crystal clear that the spending we do is on good things. DFID works closely with other departments to help them maintain the highest standards across government.
The Express also carries claims that development spending cannot be invested in longer-term economic growth which could bring a return to the British Government. This is incorrect. Under our Economic Development strategy we are kick-starting manufacturing, stimulating economic growth, and creating millions of jobs for the world’s poorest.
By overhauling trading infrastructure and opening up markets we are helping British businesses to invest in Africa and South Asia, and to harness the huge untapped potential presented by booming young populations. We are also helping to stabilise populations and give people livelihoods so they are not forced to turn to extremism or migration which threaten our global security.
The Daily Express carries claims that aid is wasteful. We are absolutely committed to spending every single penny of our aid budget wisely and without waste.
The International Development Secretary Priti Patel has been clear that her priority is to make sure that aid delivers value for money and to reform development to make it more effective. She has said:
“Under my leadership, my priority is to make sure aid delivers value for money. During my time at the Department for International Development, I have acted ruthlessly to clamp down on misspending.
“I closed down the programme, involving the Ethiopian band Yegna.
“My approach is about maximising value for money. It is crucial we are absolutely accountable and transparent to British taxpayers about where their money goes.
“My Department For International Development is responsible for 74% of the UK Government’s aid budget.
“Earlier this year I ordered a review of suppliers to ensure you, the UK taxpayer, are getting value for money.
“We carried out an efficiency review which is planned to save close to £500 million by 2019/20."