Department for International Development

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 5:13 pm on 1st July 2019.

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Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Chair, International Development Committee 5:13 pm, 1st July 2019

I thank my hon. Friend. He is tireless. He has lobbied me privately to do that and I do not blame him for lobbying me publicly. There are other members of the Committee here who can bear witness, so we will consider that. We have been looking at the global goals, which make reference to cutting road deaths, and we have the voluntary national review later this month. I can give an undertaking that my good friend, Mrs Latham, Chris Law and my hon. Friend Lloyd Russell-Moyle and I will raise that when we are in New York later this month—Whips permitting—to attend the voluntary national review.

As the hon. Member for Tewkesbury said, aid spending is quite widely and deeply scrutinised, and rightly so. It is scrutinised in the media and by the public. Like all other areas of Government spending, it is scrutinised by the National Audit Office. We also have the Independent Commission for Aid Impact, established when Mr Mitchell was Secretary of State, which is a very powerful lever for improvement in our system.

Alongside that scrutiny—this is something we are focusing on more as a Committee—we need to get better at hearing the voices of those who are beneficiaries of aid and those who are working in the field. That was brought into sharp focus by the issues around sexual exploitation and abuse that arose last year. I pay tribute to the hon. Member for Mid Derbyshire, who has been raising that issue for years, well before The Times coverage began last February. It brought to light the failure of the aid sector, including those of us who scrutinise it, to hear and to create opportunities for those who live in some of the poorest countries in the world to have their voices heard about the impact of aid—hopefully when it is positive, but also, in this extreme case, when it is negative.