UK risks spending rising aid cash poorly, warn MPs

From Aid | The Guardian Thu Jan 31 2013, 00:01:01

International development committee urges giving more money to NGOs and civil society instead of World Bank and EU

Pressure to meet spending targets as Britain's foreign aid budget rises to 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) could lead to the Department for International Development (DfID) making poor decisions, MPs warned on Thursday.

The UK's official development assistance (ODA) budget grew by 2.1% to £8.6bn in 2011, with DfID accounting for £7.7bn (much of the rest goes to the Foreign Office). By next year, when aid hits the UN target of 0.7% of GNI, total ODA is expected to rise £11.3bn (a reduction of £254m from the autumn statement of 2011 because of weaker growth). The coalition government's decision to stick to Labour's pledge of meeting the UN target has angered many Tories, who believe that DfID's budget should not be spared cuts faced by other departments.

At the end of 2011, DfID had to move forward payments of about £450m planned for 2012 to meet foreign aid targets. DfID also increased by £130m the value of payments on some other projects, prompting concern among MPs that DfID will be unable to ensure that British taxpayers are getting value for money.

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