A leader in the Sun today (Friday 22 June 2018) titled “The Sun says: Aid for NHS” talks about the £14 billion international aid budget and suggests that “even Aid Secretary Penny Mordaunt admits [this] is indefensible”.
This is completely misleading. The International Development Secretary gave a speech at an event hosted by Chatham House in London yesterday (Thursday 21 June 2018), where she committed to spending 0.7% of Britain’s income on aid and highlighted the need to ensure the UK’s aid budget was not just spent well, but could not be spent better.
Ms Mordaunt said: “The UK’s commitment to spend seven pence out of every £10 of income on the world’s poorest people is absolutely in line with our national values.
“But we need to ensure that how we are meeting the 0.7% is sensible and works for the British public in the long term, so we are focussed on ensuring that there is nothing that hinders the most effective use of these funds.”
She went on: “We are working with Treasury to ensure that our compliance with that world leading pledge is done in the most effective way possible. And we will continue to push for reform to the DAC [Development Assistance Committee] rules where we think they prevent spending on a legitimate humanitarian mission counting as ODA [Official Development Assistance].”
The International Development Secretary also spoke about how the Department For International Development has been working closely with other Government departments to ensure effective spending of the aid budget.
She said: “We must do the most good with the money we have. That means effective aid spending, but also if we can achieve that and help the national interest in a more direct way, then we will do so.
“This has led to more co-designed and co-funded projects with other government departments.”
The projects she cited include work with the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to protect the environment and to tackle the scourge of plastics in our oceans and protect endangered species.
Another with The Department of Health involves developing new treatments and fighting antimicrobial resistance.
She added: “By funding things that help the British people or causes they care passionately about we do not dilute the good aid does, we double it.
“We will seek a win for the developing world and a win for the UK in all we do.”