There is widespread media coverage over the last two days of the International Development Secretary’s five pledges for UK aid that will show taxpayers their money is not only spent well – it cannot be better spent.
Penny Mordaunt’s five pledges, outlined in an op-ed in the Telegraph yesterday, will see DFID:
- create a bold new Brexit-ready proposition to boost trade and investment with developing countries
- increasing focus on helping developing countries stand on their own feet to build sustainable health and education systems that they invest in themselves
- cut funding from organisations that do not deliver on targets we set
- spend aid directly to tackle the issues that matter most to the British people
- find new ways to help other departments make their spend more effective
The majority of coverage picked up on our commitment to help developing countries stand on their own two feet, as well the pledge to cut aid that does not deliver for the world’s poorest people.
Readers of the Daily Express may have read the headline “Britain ready to cut foreign aid cash” and thought that the UK plans to cut the amount it spends on aid each year. That isn’t correct. We are absolutely committed to spending 0.7 of our national income on aid which is creating a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.
In fact, the International Development Secretary was clear that she is driving value for money in aid to show that taxpayers' money cannot be better spent, as well as saving the lives of the world's poorest. She said:
- Britain’s security and prosperity depends upon international development… Issues like disease, mass migration and conflict pay no heed to national borders. It is not in our interest to sit back and wait until these problems come to our shores. Aid helps create self-sufficient economies and our trading partners of the future.
- I will not invest when others should be putting their hands in their pockets… I want the governments of developing countries to step up and take responsibility for investing in their own people. If we assess that a country could contribute more towards its own healthcare or education, for example, we should expect it to do so. If it chooses not to, that will inform our decisions around our funding.
- I will cut funding to organisations that do not deliver on the targets we set them. We work with some fantastic partners, who deliver the gold standard in results and value for money. Gavi, the global vaccination organisation, for example, generates incredible returns, saving millions of lives every year. But some others do not and they are on notice.