My hon. Friend will delight in the admirable work done by so many agencies around the world in places where strife causes terrible humanitarian and medical suffering. So much has been achieved that it may seem churlish to suggest that international aid agencies could deliver their aid more efficiently and with greater accountability. Will my hon. Friend again examine the merits of setting up an international aid co-operation body to ensure that aid is delivered as efficiently as possible, to reduce suffering around the world, bearing in mind that that is the view of the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Red Crescent?
We are constantly in dialogue with the NGOs. As I have said, there are a number of organisations in Europe and beyond. As independent organisations, it is for NGOs to monitor and evaluate their own performance to ensure that they remain cost-effective. It is not necessarily a matter for Governments.
Have the non-governmental organisations expressed a view on the Government's announcement, made at 2 pm today, of withdrawal from the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation? In international politics, is it not better to seek to reform institutions rather than to withdraw from them? I thought that that was the message in the Prime Minister's interview yesterday.
Naturally, in the hour and seven minutes since the announcement, I have had no representations from the NGOs, which, unlike the hon. Gentleman, have probably not had time to digest the information. The Government must ensure that they get value for money from any organisation they are in. If UNIDO reforms itself and is seen to offer better value for money in achieving its aims, the Government may reconsider their position. However, that is some way down the road, because we do not currently believe that it is fulfilling the criteria set out in advance.
Does my hon. Friend think that most of Britain's overseas aid can be delivered more effectively through bilateral arrangements, or does he believe that multinational organisations, such as the European Union or the United Nations, should be the main engine for getting the most help to the people who need it most? Given our record, surely bilateral aid has an important role in ensuring that the poorest people get the aid.
My hon. Friend will not be surprised that the Government believe that our bilateral aid programme is better than that of many others. That is why, in this year's public expenditure survey round, our bilateral aid budget has been protected. I can confirm to the House that we expect the planning figures for the bilateral aid programme for the next three years to be no lower than the comparable figures published last year. Indeed, we expect them to be moderately higher.