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With no select committee, we can’t analyse how we spend UK aid

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Back in 2015, the UK made a highly significant legally binding commitment. Every year, it would spend 0.7 per cent of gross national income (GNI) on aid and development spending.

I am very proud that we have set such a high bar – and, as a Liberal Democrat, it would be remiss of me to mention that my party enshrined this target in law.

But it is no good just to make that promise and then leave the government to spend what is billions of pounds of taxpayers’ money unchecked. We need to know how that money is being spent, whether it is being done so effectively and if ministers are complying with the rules which govern how our aid spending, or Overseas Development Assistance (ODA), must be distributed.

The government recently merged the world-leading Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign Office, to form the new Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). DFID was highly rated for the transparent and targeted way in which it spent ODA, with a real focus on poverty reduction. The Foreign Office does not make the same grade. So following this merger, more than ever we need to ensure that aid spending is being done right.

That is why the role of a select committee is important. Since the creation of DFID in 1997, it has been scrutinised by the International Development Select Committee, currently chaired by Sarah Champion MP.

Select committee scrutiny ensures that our aid spending is going to........

© Independent

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