Development spending is an important part of securing the UK’s place in the world. Aid has the power toend disease, hunger and extreme poverty, build strong economies and help the world’s most vulnerable people. It also helps us to influence and shape the world around us. Spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on aid contributes to the UK’s reputation as a development superpower and helps deliver a more secure and prosperous UK, while having a life-saving impact on the ground.
Whether it’s stepping up to support desperate Syrian refugees, leading the way in eradicating Ebola and malaria, or giving life-saving aid to stop people dying of hunger in East Africa, UK aid is keeping the UK safe while helping the world’s poorest stand on their own two feet.
I share your pride in the extraordinary work achieved by our aid budget, which is lifesaving and life-changing for millions of the poorest people around the world. Between 2015 and 2019, the Department for International Development (DFID) supported 14 million children to gain a decent education and helped almost 52 million people get access to clean water and/or better sanitation. This great work will continue under the newly created Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The UK is also leading the global effort to save millions of girls from child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation, including the largest single investment to end FGM.
I welcome the Government’s commitment to transparency and robust scrutiny of Official Development Assistance expenditure. The structure and remit of select committees is a matter for the House and I have been reassured that the FCDO will reflect carefully on the recommendations of the International Development Committee and the Liaison Committee on this. I will ensure that ministers are aware of the points you have raised.