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Aid cash 'will be better targeted'

Overseas aid will be better targeted after British funds are cut off from 16 countries currently receiving UK cash, International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has said.

Russia, China, Angola and Vietnam are among those that will see their aid budgets phased out between now and 2016.

The Government will also save more than £50 million by cutting aid to four United Nations aid organisations which fail to spend taxpayers' money wisely, Mr Mitchell announced.

Britain would instead spend more on aid in war-torn countries like Afghanistan and Somalia to provide greater security for UK interests.

"Aid can perform miracles but it must be well spent and properly targeted," he said.

It was "no longer acceptable" for British taxpayers to fund the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UN-Habitat, the UN agency the International Labour Organisation, and the UN International Strategy for Disaster Reduction.

All four organisations "performed poorly or failed to demonstrate relevance", Mr Mitchell told MPs in a statement to the Commons.

Save the Children welcomed the aid review, with charity chief executive, Justin Forsyth, saying: "In these times of austerity, the British Government is right to put a greater emphasis on results and accountability.

"With more funds also being directed at fragile states - some of the most difficult places on earth for a child to grow up in - the British public can be confident that UK aid is being directed towards those who need it most."

And Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking said: "We are very pleased that the Government has kept its promises to the world's poorest people at a time when they need help the most. Offering a helping hand in the bad times as well as the good represents the best of British values."

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