Andrew Grice: Questions still remain about Britain's aid policy

Analysis

Share
Related Topics

Andrew Mitchell was the big winner in the Government's root-and-branch spending review last autumn.

His Department of International Development (DfID) was the only one guaranteed real terms annual increases apart from Health, which will be under huge pressure as it has to find £20bn of efficiency savings over the next four years.

Yet the International Development Secretary didn't have to put up a fight. His budget was ring-fenced because in opposition the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats had pledged to match Labour's commitment to reach the UN target of devoting 0.7 per cent of national income to aid by 2013.

DfID spending will rise from £5.9bn in 2010-11 to £9.4bn by 2013-14. "Spend it well," the Chancellor George Osborne told Mr Mitchell, a passionate believer in the benefits of overseas aid who shadowed his post in opposition for five years.

Mr Mitchell took Mr Osborne at his word. He did not regard his generous budget as a blank cheque. He will phase out bilateral programmes in 16 countries deemed not to need it, including China, Russia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Serbia and Iraq. Money will be concentrated in 27 countries that between them account for 75 per cent of global deaths during pregnancy and childbirth and almost the same proportion of deaths from malaria. Afgh-anistan will get a 40 per cent boost.

Controversially, fast-growing India will still benefit because it has more poor people than Sub-Saharan Africa.

Thirty per cent of the UK development budget will go to conflict zones and fragile countries. But the Government denies criticism that this amounts to the "militarisation" of aid, pointing out that two-thirds of the poorest nations are in or emerging from violent conflict.

Labour has raised doubts over whether the Coalition is on track to hit the 0.7 per cent target because its commitment is "backloaded". Whatever the UK can afford, after Mr Cameron's strong defence of the pledge yesterday, he cannot afford to break it.



React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Teaching Assistant in secondary school Manchester

£11280 - £14400 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Teaching a...

Primary teaching roles in Ipswich

£21552 - £31588 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Randstad Education re...

Science teachers needed in Norwich

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: Science teachers requ...

Semi Senior Accountant - Music

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Sauce Recruitment: A successful, Central London bas...

Day In a Page

Read Next
A homeless person sleeps in the streets  

This is why I am sleeping rough outside the party conferences

Max J Freeman
Strikes were carried out by manned air force and navy aircraft (File photo)  

Syria air strikes: President Assad now has the enemy he always wanted – Islamist terrorism

Kim Sengupta
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits