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Official Development Assistance

Volume 529: debated on Wednesday 8 June 2011

9. What estimate he has made of the proportion of gross national income to be spent on official development assistance in (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13. (57745)

British official development assistance as a proportion of gross national income will be 0.56% in 2011 and 2012. The Government are fully committed to delivering 0.7% of GNI as ODA from 2013 and will enshrine that commitment in law, in line with the coalition agreement.

The Government have frozen aid for two years and propose to spend money through multinational institutions, which have more expensive bureaucracy. Is it not nonsensical for DFID to cut its admin costs only to spend money through institutions with higher costs?

The hon. Lady is not correct. The way in which we judge multilateral institutions was set out clearly in the multilateral aid review. The whole point of the two big reviews that the coalition Government commissioned on coming to power was to ensure that we deliver best value for money. It is our aim to ensure that for every pound of hard-earned taxpayers’ money that we spend, we get 100p of development results on the ground.

The brave men and women of our armed forces put their lives at risk every day to protect civilians and rebuild societies in far-off lands. That is real overseas aid. Does the Secretary of State agree that it is surprising that his budget is increasing by £4 billion when the defence budget is being cut by billions and billions of pounds?

Having served in the armed forces, I yield to no one in my respect for them. However, I point out to my hon. Friend, who I know takes a close interest in these matters, that Britain’s security is maintained not only by tanks and guns, but by training police in Afghanistan, getting kids into school in the horn of Africa, and building up governance structures in the middle east.