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

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

Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Officer - Altrincham - up to £24,000.

£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...

Recruitment Genius: Salesforce Developer

£50000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Due to continued business growt...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Sales Executive

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity has ari...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive

£20000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Rachel Hollis posted a photo of herself in a bikini on holiday online with the caption 'I'm proud of this body and every mark on it'  

At last there’s a new ‘bikini body’ ideal – and it’s one with stretch marks

Victoria Richards
Ed Miliband contends with difficult questions from Jeremy Paxman  

Battle for Number 10: Miliband survives a rough ride but Cameron takes the edge in first TV battle

John Curtice
The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss