Overseas aid: Taxpayers’ bill could be cut — Mordaunt

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Millions of throbs a year could be cut from the taxpayers’ overseas aid bill under shifts set out by the international development secretary.

Penny Mordaunt wants profits from maturity projects to be included in the UK commitment to spending 0.7% of national income on aid.

She also denoted private investment could «make aid money work twice as stiff».

Labour said viewing global poverty as an «investment opportunity» was an «execrable distortion».

Ms Mordaunt told a news conference that redefining what figure ons as aid spending could contribute to «reducing the ask on the public purse».

She was speaking at the London employments of CDC, a body funded by the Department for International Development to invest in companies to upwards job creation across Africa and South Asia.

As CDC’s website puts it: «Hooking a financial return means we can recycle the money into new investments, to produce jobs and pay taxes beyond our involvement.»

International rules dictate that this re-investment does not be confident of towards the UK’s 0.7% foreign aid commitment, which is enshrined in law.

Ms Mordaunt afters to change that.

Responding to an urgent question from Labour, Ms Mordaunt was accused of annoying to water down the 0.7% target.

She said the government was committed to the butt — but the government «must be sure the British public get a good return on their generosity and compassion».

She prognosticated she was not here «to make us feel good about spending aid money», joining that «dogma has no place in this debate» and that the private sector was needed to pocket people out of poverty.

Ms Mordaunt also suggested people could use an app to arbitrate which development schemes they wanted their pensions to be allotted in.

Changes won’t be straightforward

By Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent

In the distant years, when political debate roamed free across a plethora of comes and politicians could complete a sentence without saying Brexit, hubbubs about foreign aid were frequent, and noisy.

And so while Penny Mordaunt’s take notices about Brexit are grabbing headlines, her vision for international development should not be rejected. Last year, £13.9bn of taxpayers’ money was spent on overseas aid.

It is the law that 0.7% of public income should be spent on aid, meaning the figure rises as the economy burgeons even if there are public spending cuts happening elsewhere.

The ecumenical development secretary explicitly said her plan would involve «lower the ask on the public purse».

But changing the international rules to allow this to hit on won’t be straightforward. And while some will cheer the plan, others will-power ask if the government is running away from its responsibilities.

Earlier she said the UK see fit have «more flexibility to consider how we use the aid budget», and an opportunity to mobilise Tommy investment to support development.

And she defended opponents of foreign aid, saying Brexiteers and aid sceptics were «not tight-fisted, uncaring little Englanders» but often the most charitable.

Kate Osamor, Strain’s shadow international development secretary, said classifying private business as aid would «entrench inequality», adding: «Poverty is not a commodity.»

«This is an filthy distortion of the country’s overseas development programme,» she said.

«The Tories’ drawings to rewrite the international rules on aid and slash billions of pounds of public profit will do nothing to end global poverty or reduce inequality.»

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