Through devices ranging from the overt 'aid and trade' provision to, as is now exposed, prime ministerial intervention much of Britain's aid has been diverted to countries (Malaysia is a case in point) which can by no means be described as among the poorest while, as I myself experienced, British representatives in the poorest countries albeit with close traditional links with Britain (in my case Sierra Leone) were told that our countries had 'little priority'.
The Overseas Development Agency generally seeks to excuse Britain's poor performance in regard to the UN-recommended target of proportion of GNP by claiming that British aid is of 'high quality'.
We do have a good record in regard to emergency assistance, but Sir Tim's exposure belies this in regard to development aid. It is to be hoped that Parliament will now insist that aid funds are used for the purpose for which they are voted and that money for trade promotion is correctly designated.
DEREK W. PARTRIDGE
The writer was British High Commissioner to Sierra Leone, 1986-91.Reuse content