Published On: Thu, Apr 12th, 2018

'British values will come FIRST!' Mordaunt promises MAJOR foreign aid shakeup

The International Development Secretary promised a sweeping overhaul of the way overseas assistance is delivered to address complaints about waste and corruption.

And she admitted there was a “lack of trust” from the public in the aid system following the sexual misconduct scandal that has hit Oxfam and other charities.

“I hear you, I get it – I really do,” the Tory Cabinet minister said, in a speech directed at critics of the Government’s aid policies.

“You want a return to the priorities of the people not the priorities of the politicians – I understand that,” she added.

“Our new development offer needs to be a national mission we can unite behind.

“It should unashamedly have British values at its heart. And it should be fit for the world as it is today.


Foreign aid Penny MordauntGETTY

Penny Mordaunt has planned an overhaul on the way foreign aid spending is overseen



The public should always know what, where, how and why

Penny Mordaunt

“We have a moral obligation to both the people we seek to help, and those who enable us to do so, to get the best value for money and most positive impact for every pound we spend.”

Her remarks at an event in central London follow recent figures showing that Britain’s annual foreign aid budget, based on an annual target of 0.7% of GDP, has soared to almost £14billion.

Outlining her plans for shaking up the system, the International Development Secretary said taxpayers should be able to use the internet to keep track of exactly where and when UK aid money is spent overseas.

“In the future, we should develop our tracking tools so the public can see in real time the results of the geocoded projects they fund,” she said.

“It’s not about who spends it within government – whoever spends it needs to spend overseas development assistance really well and the public should always know what, where, how and why.”

She also said Whitehall officials could play a far bigger role in scrutinising how aid money is spent rather than leaving decisions entirely to aid organisations.

Ms Mordaunt insisted she had listened to critics of the Government’s aid policies who argued “that we are spending too much, or that our spending is wasted or goes straight into the pockets of the corrupt.”

She also recognised that many voters feared spending on aid could lead to domestic priorities including the NHS being neglected.

Ms Mordaunt said anger at aid spending was driven by similar concerns to those behind the vote for Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum.

“We wanted a return to the priorities of the people. We chose a different path. We chose British self-determination,” she said.

“We are a global power, as well as a European one.

UK foreign aid budgetGETTY

Ms. Mordaunt said Whitehall should play a bigger part in scrutinising foreign aid

And in voting for Brexit I wanted my country to project those values on to the world stage.

“Brexit itself is both an example of our faith in democracy and fundamental freedoms.”

Voters had been shocked by the recent scandal about sexual misconduct by staff at Oxfam and other aid charities “because they care about those values,” the International Development Secretary said.

“Our national values and institutions are unselfish – we believe in sharing, in paying tax.

“In our communities, we volunteer, we help each other, we try and be good neighbours.”

Britons had voluntarily donated £30million to help Rohingya fleeing terror in Burma last year, the minister pointed out.

“Why did they do that? Why do 13 million Brits volunteer every month to help others? Because we’re leaders, we take responsibility, we feel motivated to act, to share what we have, to help,” she said.

She cited research from the Eurobarometer polling organisation showing 89% of Britons believe that helping developing nations was “the right thing to do”.

Mrs Mordaunt pledged to build an aid system “we can be really proud of”.

“It must deliver on both the purpose of Official Development Assistance and also on the public’s concerns,” she said.

“Our new development offer needs to be a national mission that we can all unite behind.”

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