With the Coalition intent on hitting the arbitrary target of spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on international aid, the Department for International Development is awash with taxpayers’ cash and short of ideas on how to spend it.
In a fiercely critical report, an all-party committee of MPs found evidence of two-thirds of DFID’s budget being channelled through inefficient international organisations, money being moved between accounts to hit targets, and other poor spending decisions. Official documents reveal how in 2011, the department was forced to boost spending by £580 million in a frantic rush to meet increasing spending targets, with £130 million used just to increase the value of payments due on a number of projects.
DFID will see its budget increase to £8.2 billion with a superfluous cash injection of an extra £500m this year. This comes at a time when all other Whitehall departments, barring health, face cuts. The government needs to call time on its policy of pouring taxpayers’ money into international development so they can meet meaningless targets and feel self-righteous.