Priti Patel launches TaxPayers' Alliance report on taking back control of foreign aid
Today former secretary of state for international development, Rt Hon Priti Patel MP, is joining forces with the TaxPayers' Alliance to call for urgent reforms to British aid spending. In analysis released today, the TaxPayers' Alliance sets out a package of measures to challenge the aid establishment and take back control of aid.
While the TaxPayers' Alliance has long called for the 0.7% aid spending target to be scrapped, this report maps out fundamental reform to make aid spending more relevant and justifiable to British taxpayers while the target remains in force.
Given the secretary of state only needs to report to Parliament if the amount is not met, there is no need to scrap the aid target to make serious reforms, such as allowing flexibility in the amount of aid spend each calendar year. This would make the aid budget easier to manage by allowing for greater value for money and effectiveness.
Multilateral aid rules have also hampered Britain’s ability to spend the aid budget well. Yet if Official Development Assistance (ODA) is to become suitable to the challenges of the future, further modernisation will be necessary, such as on piracy, drugs-busting and private sector investment. The UK should unilaterally implement these reforms, rather than waiting for permission.
The current structure of international aid funnels funding towards big international NGOs, with taxpayers' money being wasted on their day to day costs. The relationship with these aid cartels must be re-geared and the proportion of aid they receive reduced, alongside reforms to boost aid money given to smaller charities from the UK.
Beyond DfID, departments are subject to less scrutiny and bound by fewer rules. This has led to spending in ways that are neither contributing to poverty reduction or the national interest. Instead, the aid secretary should sign off and be accountable for every item of non-DfID spend.
John O'Connell, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance said:
"The aid establishment have become fixated on the holy-grail of the headline 0.7% aid target.
The debate has ground to a halt and we're left stuck with a system which throws money at multilateral institutions, like the World Bank and UN World Tourism Office, and dictates how we can spend British aid money. What's more, UK charities lose out, with most not even getting a look-in to the internationally-approved aid spenders list.
Ministers need to bring the development rules in house, face down the international NGO cartels and address the real effectiveness of aid spending by signing off every penny. We hope that our proposals will be taken on board - by enthusiasts or sceptics alike - as it's in everybody's interests that our international aid program delivers for taxpayers."
Priti Patel MP, former secretary of state for International Development said:
" I welcome the debate about Britain’s support for the poorest in the world and this TaxPayers’ Alliance report highlights a number of important issues facing Britain's development system.
Having held the International Development portfolio, my approach of following the money, people and outcomes and a line by line review of every project to drive outcomes and value for money to support our national interest invigorated DfIDs accountability and approach to development.
I believe that as the world is changing fast, we need to raise our game to get the most out of every pound of taxpayers’ money and champion an open, modern and innovative approach to development ready for the challenges of the 21st century.”