Monday, June 7, 2010

'A million aid watchdogs' promised

Key steps are said to have been taken in the creation of a new independent aid watchdog, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has said.

He has also announced the UKaid Transparency Guarantee that will ensure 'full information' on spending will be published on the Department for International Development website.

DfID is one of only three government departments to be exempt from recent Treasury enforced cuts.

The government argues that overseas aid is morally right, but it also acknowledges that taxpayers deserve evidence that their money is spent effectively.

Mitchell said: "We need a fundamental change of direction – we need to focus on results and outcomes, not just inputs. Aid spending decisions should be made on the basis of evidence, not guesswork. That is why we have taken the first steps towards creating a new independent aid watchdog.

"The UK Aid Transparency Guarantee will also help to create a million independent aid watchdogs – people around the world who can see where aid money is supposed to be going – and shout if it doesn't get there."

He also defended investment in international development:

"Development is good for our economy, our safety, our health, our future. It is, quite simply, tremendous value for money: the best return on investment that you'll find anywhere in government.

"British aid pays for five million children in developing countries to go to primary school every day. That's roughly the same number as go to primary school in Britain yet it costs only 2.5 per cent of what we spend here. That's real value for money."

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