9 July 2020

Today, Sarah Champion and Tom Tugendhat, the respective chairs of the International Development Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee led an Estimates Day debate in the House of Commons Chamber on “The merger between DFID and the FCO and the implications for expenditure of Official Development Assistance (ODA) across government.” 

Responding to the debate amongst MPs, Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond the UK network for NGOs said: 

"The majority of cross-party MPs seem to share our belief that the DFID and FCO merger was a political move, and had little to do with ensuring aid goes to the poorest and most vulnerable people. It was instead aimed to bolster the government's ability to use aid to advance the UK's political, economic and diplomatic efforts.

For over 20 years, UK aid has helped to provide quality education for girls around the world, helped the most vulnerable gain access to clean water, and helped eradicate disease making the world a healthier, safer place for us all. The outbreak of Covid-19 risks undermining the progress we have made. At a time when the government should be focussed on international efforts to tackle the pandemic, this ill-timed merger, along with the looming fall in gross national income, does nothing but exacerbate these risks.

We are urgently calling for the government to meaningfully engage with aid and development experts to help inform the new department's aid and development priorities and seek urgent reassurances that the world’s poorest people will not be forced to shoulder any future spending cuts.

If the government is committed to playing its part to support those most in need, and to spending our critical aid budget in the most transparent, accountable and effective way as it has repeatedly said it is, then it must also commit to Cabinet-level and National Security Council representation that is distinct from the foreign secretary, as well as robust parliamentary scrutiny via a dedicated cross-government select committee and retain the Independent Commission for Aid Impact."

ENDS

  1. The Estimates Day debate in the House of Commons Chamber on “The merger between DFID and the FCO and the implications for expenditure of Official Development Assistance (ODA) across government” took place today on the 9th July 2020 and can be watched here @13:39:42: https://parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/a0e78673-c00a-432a-a91a-915c563e529f
  2. Download the full report: The merger between DFID and the FCO and the implications for expenditure of Official Development Assistance (ODA) across government: https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cdp-2020-0077/
  3. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice.
  4. For further information please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]