A story in today’s Daily Mail refers to the UK Government giving aid to China, India and Nigeria while public services in Britain are “crying out for cash”.
The Department For International Development is responsible for around 72.5% of the UK’s total aid budget. It does not give aid to China.
Our development relationship with India is based on sharing expertise and developing investments that will generate returns for the UK, while helping the poorest people in the Asian country.
The Department is starting to change the way it supports Nigeria, as it becomes a future trading partner for the UK. The International Development Secretary recently visited Nigeria, where she said that she wants to see our relationship with the country “move from a relationship based on aid to one of economic prosperity and trade”.
In Nigeria approximately a third of the population lives below the poverty line, and another third live close to it. UK aid improves the lives of the most vulnerable in this country by creating jobs and improving health and education.
During her visit the International Development Secretary visited a health centre in Kaduna, northern Nigeria, that had received medical supplies from DFID since 2014. While there she handed over the last package of UK aid support for the centre. The state in Kaduna will now take on the costs of medical equipment for the centre, as the region becomes less dependent on UK aid.
UK aid is also working in the north east of Nigeria, providing humanitarian assistance and military training. It is helping to increase security and stability amid the presence of Boko Haram.
What The Daily Mail story fails to mention is how our partnerships with countries like China, India and Nigeria benefits the UK. The advice and support we provide helps to increase global protection against pandemics and diseases and helps to boost economic development in Africa and Asia to help end poverty and strengthen global prosperity.
Penny Mordaunt, the International Development Secretary has committed to ensuring that the UK’s aid budget is not just spent well, but could not be spent better.
She has previously stated that: “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.”
DFID and other government departments which spend the aid budget, such as the Foreign Office and The Department for Business, issued a statement to The Daily Mail yesterday. The paper ran most, but not all, of it.
This is the statement in full.
A Government spokesperson said:
“Our aid commitment increases Britain’s global influence and alongside our world class defence and diplomacy helps the UK to create opportunity, peace and prosperity worldwide, which is firmly in the national interest. It improves the lives of the most vulnerable around the world by creating jobs and better health and education.
“We have robust processes in place to scrutinise our projects to ensure that all UK aid is effective and represents value for money.”