UK aid helps to alleviate poverty and contributes to sustainable development around the world. It tackles some of the biggest global challenges of our time: poverty and disease, humanitarian emergencies, insecurity and conflict. Aid is important because more than 700 million people still live in extreme poverty. UK aid is funded by taxes, accounting for 0.7% of the UK’s Gross National Income (GNI). The money is mainly channelled through to the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), following the merger of the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in September.
Now, the Government is expected to bring forward a proposal which puts at risk the effectiveness of UK aid, and support is urgently needed from MPs in a vote on how Government aid spending will be scrutinised in future. Following the creation of the FCDO, the Government has said it will scrap the International Development Committee (IDC), and instead, the Department’s international development work will be monitored by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, in addition to its existing remit to review diplomacy and foreign policy. But the Foreign Affairs Select Committee does not have the capacity or expertise to properly scrutinise aid spending, and a new committee enabling MPs to question decisions on all aid spending (also known as Official Development Assistance or ODA) is being proposed by a cross-party group of MPs instead. This will be vital, to help ensure the focus of aid spending is on poverty reduction, and that it is spent well.
Please contact your MP’s office as a matter of urgency, by email or phone, informing them of the proposed vote and asking them to vote for the new committee when a Motion is proposed to the House.