Boris Johnson has been urged to cancel his plans to scrap the overseas aid department, after it had emerged that he sent tens of millions of pounds worth of taxpayers’ money to China while he was the UK’s Foreign Secretary
The Department for International Development (DfID) is reportedly set to be disbanded and merged into the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) at some point this week.
But the Labour party has claimed that Boris Johnson “can’t be trusted” with the aid budget, and have said that it should be left with DfID, which they have said was “consistently rated as the most effective, transparent department at delivering real value for money for the British taxpayer.”
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Since 2015, an increasing amount of the nation’s overseas aid spending has been directed outside of the DfID, which reached about a quarter last year.
Critics of this move by the government have said that other departments within the government aren’t as transparent about their spending and don’t get the same value for money as the DfID.
The FCO spent over £84m in China between the years of 2014 and 2018, according to a new set of analysis, this is inclusive of the period of time in which Mr Johnson was in charge of the department, between 2016 and 2018.
Some 39% of Foreign Office spending that occurred overseas, went to upper-middle income countries, with only 22% of aid going to the world’s poorest nations.
In the same period of time, the DfID gave no financial aid to China, and instead spent 61% of its foreign aid budget in some of the poorest countries in the world.
Preet Kaur Gill, Labour’s Shadow International Development Secretary said: “These latest figures show that the aid budget cannot be trusted in the hands of this Prime Minister.”
The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) has been critical of the FCO’s record on foreign aid.
Dominic Raab has said that the Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) will be instructed to prioritise producing tangible, evidence-based recommendations for foreign aid to government ministers, in order to drive effective overseas development.
“We are integrating our aid budget with our diplomatic clout in the new FCDO to maximise the impact of our foreign policy.”
“That’s why I want to reinforce the role of ICAI, to strengthen further transparency and accountability in the use of taxpayers’ money and relentlessly focus our Global Britain strategy on policies and in areas that deliver the most value.”
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Mr Gill said: “DfID has been a world leader in providing life-changing and life-saving support to millions of people in the world’s poorest countries.”
“It is consistently rated as the most effective, transparent department at delivering real value for money for British taxpayers.”
“There is still time for the Government to withdraw from this act of institutional vandalism and, instead, build on DfID’s world renowned reputation.”
“Political leadership and institutional capacity is what is required to deliver development, not another organisational restructure.”