UK will cut development aid in set of five new ‘pledges’
The UK government has laid out plans to change the way it delivers international aid, including more stringent criteria and cuts to certain projects.
In a blog published this week, the new International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, said the UK would not invest when “others should be putting their hands in their pockets”.
While she stressed that “Britain is a development superpower”, international aid will from now on be structured around a set of five pledges.
These new pledges are: a plan to boost trade and investment with developing countries once the UK leaves the European Union; projects will have to demonstrate why Britain should pay; cuts to projects which do not meet targets; a focus on issues which matter to the British people; and to find new ways to help other Government departments spend aid more effectively.
Outlining her reasoning for the change in policy direction, Ms. Mordaunt said:
“Nagging doubts persist for many people, about what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how we go about it. It is not that people are ungenerous or uncaring. Quite the opposite…what they question is the weight and resource given to this task by their parliament and their government, especially when there are domestic needs and a national debt to address”.
The new proposals were met with caution from some development campaigners. Alex Thier, executive director of the Overseas Development Institute, responded:
“She is articulating a principle that we should focus more of our assistance on promoting sustainability and assistance so that countries can lift themselves up. I agree with that. However, it’s important to apply that to the people and countries where it is needed most. The goal should not be to pull away from countries that are struggling and only invest in countries that are doing well”.
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Image Credit: DFID