The consequences of the highly questionable decision made by Theresa May, to entrust Britain’s world class development ministry to a politician who wants to abolish it, are getting clearer by the day.
In the wake of the Secretary of State for International Development, Priti Patel, setting out her plan to pour £750 million into Afghanistan without checks and balances, let's not forget Britain’s aid programme is world-renowned for its effectiveness. DfID won the highest marks from independent auditors as the most accountable ministry in the government.
Priti Patel is dismantling that achievement as part of an ideological crusade to promote the needs of big business. Her approach, which has been criticised by several NGOs as being too business-focused and inappropriate, is deeply concerning.
She is attacking Britain’s aid budget to use it for the promotion of business interests and to fatten up military spending. But the Ministry of the Defence has the worst record for accountability and value for money, according to independent auditors.
We have a well-funded defence budget — 2% of our GDP — and we are one of the leading members of NATO. This Conservative government should focus on getting better value for money for our defence spending — not taking aid funds by stealth to boost the military budget.
Only a Labour government can ensure the aid budget is used for its vital purpose – helping people to live better lives.