ActionAid UK responds on transparency of UK Aid

18 July 2017

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Commenting on the National Audit Office report on UK Aid spending, Charlie Matthews, ActionAid UK’s Head of Advocacy, said:

“This NAO report confirms exactly what ActionAid has seen on the ground: that UK Aid is transforming the lives of millions of people in poverty around the world.

“The UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) is a world leader. From responding to emergencies to helping women access modern methods of family planning, British taxpayers should be hugely proud of the difference they are making.

“However, the report demonstrates why Government needs to take care that increasing the amount of aid spent through other departments does not dilute its high quality. It highlights important gaps in capacity, transparency and accountability that must be addressed if British taxpayers are to be assured that aid continues to be well spent. Until this can be ensured, ActionAid UK is calling for the amount of overseas aid spent by other departments to be frozen or reduced until they can show they meet the same high standards as DFID.”

Charlie Matthews is available for interview to discuss the NAO report. Please contact Melanie Stern at 0203 122 0920 or email to arrange.

Notes to Editors

1. ActionAid UK is calling for:

a. The amount of Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) spent by government departments other than DFID to be frozen or reduced until they can show they are as transparent and effective at fighting poverty as DFID. The UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of Gross National Income (GNI) on ODA is enshrined in law, so any shortfall in ODA due to reduced spending by other government departments is made up by an increase in ODA spent by DFID.
b. The International Development Committee to reopen its inquiry into UK Aid being spent by other government departments, which was cut short early due to the general election.
c. The UK Government to confirm that the International Development Act 2002 (and 2014 amendments) – which require aid to focus on poverty reduction and pursue gender equality – apply across all aid and not just programmes delivered by DFID.
2. DFID spent 86.2% of ODA in 2014, and 80.5% of ODA in 2015 (see note 1). The Government plans for it to fall to 75% by 2019/20 (see note 2) .