Christian Aid warns UK Government not to 'play politics' with aid


Christine Allen

Christine Allen

Source: Christian Aid

Christian Aid has today warned the UK Government not to "play politics" with overseas aid in a way that harms the poorest.

Responding to the speech this morning by Penny Mordaunt, the Secretary of State for International Development, which was briefed to The Sun newspaper, the charity said that "progress does not always involve 'win-wins'", adding that the suggestion that private sector investments could replace rather than supplement public aid and still be effective at addressing poverty is "wrong".

Any attempts to play politics with the aid budget, said Christian Aid, "will raise questions about how aid policy is being developed and in whose interests".

Christine Allen, director of policy and public affairs at Christian Aid, said: "Public development aid has a vital role to play when it comes to eradicating poverty and meeting the world's sustainable development goals (SDGs) in a way that leaves no one behind. Publicly funded support for the most vulnerable is a hallmark of a civilized society.

"Private investment is also needed but is much less likely to reach the most vulnerable communities in the poorest countries. Suggesting that private sector investments, which have to make a return for investors, could replace rather than supplement public aid and still be effective at addressing poverty is wrong.

"It is also dangerous, as it risks increasing debt levels in many developing countries and leaving vulnerable communities at the mercy of global markets, and is less likely to ensure that money is spent in a way that tackles climate change.

"Aid has been marred for years by donor countries putting their own priorities, and those of private sector actors, ahead of the needs of the countries and people who should benefit from that aid. This distorts the purpose of aid and while there may be some areas of overlapping interests, progress does not always involve 'win-wins'.

"It would be wrong to play politics with aid in a way that harms the poorest. Any attempts to do so will raise questions about how aid policy is being developed and in whose interests.

"The UK's contribution to fighting inequality must be rooted in global solidarity and the principle of self-determination, not be a renewed form of imperialism."

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