Britain pledges funding boost for poor countries

Development Secretary says HIV drugs must be made available

Britain's funding of the international fight against Aids will receive a boost after the review of the aid budget put in place by the Coalition Government is complete, the Development Secretary, Andrew Mitchell, has said.

Though the aid budget is ring-fenced in the current cuts round, a review of spending is under way. One third of the staff of the Department for International Development will be cut. But spending will rise in other areas, Mr Mitchell told Anne Aslett, director of the Elton John Aids Foundation, at a private meeting this week.

When asked why Aids was omitted from the draft structural reform plan his department published in July, he said: "Without compromising the review I can tell you that the Global Fund [to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis and Malaria] is coming out of it extremely well. When the reviews of bilateral and multilateral aid are published in the new year you'll see our absolute commitment to the fight against HIV/Aids will be clear and indisputable." The Government is also "fully signed up" to the target of eradicating HIV transmission from mother to child by 2013.

The minister also expressed concern over the current trade negotiations between Europe and India which threaten to restrict the ability of India to supply the developing world with cheap anti-Aids drugs. "It's important that companies are able to put in place protection for their intellectual property but this must not have a negative impact on public health," he said. "The level of protection should be tailored to ensure that much-needed drugs are available in the poorest countries."

The increased spending on Aids will come as part of a DfID package which will also include cutting the department's administrative spend by a third. It has already let out the top two floors of its ministry to an outside body and reduced the travel budget.

But "in terms of programme spending I've agreed with the Treasury that in certain clear circumstances we will need to increase our head count and we will need to hire some different people as well," he said. The proportion of the aid budget spent in fragile and conflicted states will rise from 23 to 30 per cent.

Anne Aslett said afterwards: "It was striking that the examples the Secretary of State used were about Afghanistan, Yemen and Somalia where his Labour predecessor would have spoken about Africa. His rhetoric was attractive – speaking about measuring what is achieved rather than how much money is put in by government. But going for value for money and measurable results will mean he will have to say No to tackling some of the most serious problems which are by definition the most intractable."

The minister and the lobbyist agreed that Britain needed to be a leader internationally in pressing for innovative forms of finance to fund the fights against Aids and development in general. A tax on all financial transactions within the City, with the money dedicated to development, was one option, Ms Aslett said.

"A tax on bankers would go down well with the public," she said.

Mr Mitchell agreed. "And the Chancellor of the Exchequer has already has shown himself more sympathetic."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Digital Marketing Consultant

£28000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Senior Digital Marketing Cons...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Stores Keeper

£16640 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Assistant Stores Keeper is r...

Recruitment Genius: Claims Administrator

£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an excellent opportunit...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developer - C# / ASP.NET / SQL

£17000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Developer required to join a bu...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living