Skip to main content


Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 21 November 2018

5. Whether the Government have plans to devolve functions of her Department to the devolved Administrations. (907729)

14. Whether the Government have plans to devolve functions of her Department to the devolved Administrations. (907739)

The Government have no plans to devolve functions of the Department for International Development to the devolved Administrations, but we are giving people in all parts of the UK more control over how aid money is spent.

Given the reported comments about the Secretary of State’s attitude to UNESCO, the UK Government’s confused position shows their real attitude to aid spending. Given that Scotland wants to remain part of UNESCO, should she not devolve aid spending to Scotland so that we can make our own decisions?

In line with the answer that the Minister of State, Department for International Development, my hon. Friend the Member for West Worcestershire (Harriett Baldwin), gave some moments ago, the Government’s position on UNESCO has not changed, nor has mine. We continue to monitor the quality of the multilaterals that we work with. I have funded new projects with UNESCO, looking particularly at data on education, and we will continue to do that.

Scotland has a long tradition of international solidarity, particularly in responding to crisis situations, such as the recent earthquake in Indonesia. Will the Secretary of State confirm that the UK Government support the current arrangement for devolved Administrations to run international aid development programmes and that her Department has no plans to curtail or undermine these?

I can confirm that, and indeed, we are developing small grant programmes and UK aid match to enable more community groups, as well as Administrations, to contribute to such humanitarian disasters.

I urge the Secretary of State to reject the representations from the party opposite, which will result in duplication, waste and less help to those who need it. Will she also take back control of our budget from the European Union?

This coming Monday will be the last development meeting of the EU that the UK will attend. It is my sincere wish that we will be able to continue working with our EU partners on humanitarian issues and others, but I have said that we will not do this for as long as the EU discriminates against British NGOs and suppliers.

Is it not the case that in developing countries, the brand “UK Aid” is well known and helps to promote soft power? Does my right hon. Friend agree that we should not do anything to mitigate that?

My hon. Friend is right, and the Prime Minister described “UK Aid” as a “badge of hope”. We should be tremendously proud of all that the British public enable us to do.

How important is it that the Minister maintains diligence in ensuring that fraud and corruption are avoided in delivering our aid to those who need it most?

That is absolutely correct. It is not just fraud and corruption and making sure that our programmes are delivering for the people who need them; we also need to help developing nations to crack down on other fraud and corruption going on. There is no point in us putting aid money into or lending money to countries when more of that money is leaving those countries every year.