Department for International Development

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:41 pm on 1st July 2019.

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Photo of Laurence Robertson Laurence Robertson Conservative, Tewkesbury 4:41 pm, 1st July 2019

The hon. Gentleman makes a good point, and I look forward to hearing whether the Minister thinks that 25% of the budget being spent by other Departments is about right, too high or too low. I have not necessarily come with answers. I am asking as many questions as I am giving answers, but that is the nature of this debate.

This spending also raises the question of transparency, because the other Departments do not have the same legislative requirements. For example, the International Development (Reporting and Transparency) Act 2006 requires DFID to report to Parliament on where the money is spent, but other Departments are not covered by the Act.

The targeting of aid is something else that concerns some people. In 2017, the last year for which figures are available, DFID spent 66% of its bilateral aid budget on the world’s poorest countries, but the other Departments spent only 25% of their bilateral budgets on the least developed countries. There are always explanations and more details behind these figures but, on the face of it, we need to look at it and ask questions.

Through bilateral aid, we have complete control of the projects we fund; and through multilateral aid, we work with other agencies and do not have the same control, and the priorities of those other agencies might be slightly different from ours. There are different nuances within each of those headings, too. This is never a simple subject.