Government 'playing fast and loose' with definition of aid spending

By agency reporter
June 5, 2018

In a report published today (5 June 2018), Parliament's International Development Committee highlights serious problems with the UK Government's definition of aid spending and the transparency around how public money is being spent.
Dan Dolan, Head of Policy at the human rights organisation Reprieve, said: “By playing fast and loose with the official definition of aid spending, the Government is increasingly using its development budget to support foreign security forces, some of whom are involved in appalling human rights abuses. Reprieve’s research suggests that in many cases, money that should be spent on alleviating poverty could in fact be helping oppressive regimes shut down dissent, and even enabling torture and the death penalty.

"Ministers have been repeatedly warned that a lack of transparency risks appalling abuses being covered up. MPs and the public deserve to see a full account of these funds and the human rights risks identified for each project”.

The report states that:

  • cross-departmental pots of money risk becoming “a slush fund to pay for developing the UK’s diplomatic, trade or national security interests”, rather than being “directed primarily at reducing poverty”;
  • the “lack of clarity” over the objectives of key funds used for security assistance “risks undermining faith in the UK aid brand”, while further “lack of clarity” and transparency over the effectiveness of the programmes “undermines trust in the fund”;
  • these funds must “as a matter of urgency”, improve their transparency “significantly”, “to reverse the damaging lack of confidence in the quality of the funds’ interventions”.

* Read the report here and the conclusions and recommendations  here

* Reprieve


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