Bill introduced to restore scrutiny of international aid

The Liberal Democrats have secured cross-party support for a Bill being introduced which would create a new select committee to scrutinise Overseas Development Assistance expenditure by the Government.

The move, supported by former International Development Committee Sarah Champion and former DFID Minister Harriett Baldwin, follows the Prime Minister’s decision to abolish the Department for International Aid and rumours the Chancellor now intends to scrap foreign aid.

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain, who is bringing in the Bill, has stressed the need to ensure “that where UK aid is delivered, it delivers”.

In recent weeks, the Government has confirmed plans to axe a £12.5m project to cut teen pregnancy and sexual violence in Rwanda while £4.8m of the aid budget was shifted “to strengthen global supply chains” of supermarket giants including Marks & Spencer, Tesco and Morrisons.

Liberal Democrat MP Wendy Chamberlain said: “For nearly 25 years, our aid spending has been scrutinised by the watchful eyes of the International Development select committee. They help ensure that taxpayers get value for money for the 0.7% GNI of aid spending – but also that where UK aid is delivered, it delivers for those who need it most.

“DFID was always highly rated for the way it spent UK Aid, but the Foreign Office has had problems. Now more than ever, we need to ensure oversight and scrutiny of the aid budget.

“I therefore urge Ministers to do the right thing and recognise that there is support from all parties for a cross-party select committee to ensure that UK Aid continues helping the world’s poorest.”

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