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Countries face foreign aid cut if they fail to invest in own people – minister

Penny Mordaunt said she wanted to make sure that aid spending was in the national interest.

The British Government will curb foreign aid spending to recipient countries if they fail to utilise the funds responsibly, the International Development Secretary said.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Penny Mordaunt also said she “will not invest when others should be putting their hands in their pockets”.

She said: “It will no longer be enough for a project simply to be achieving good things.

“I want the governments of developing countries to step up and take responsibility for investing in their own people, in healthcare or education, for example.

“If it chooses not to, that will inform our decisions around our funding. We will continue to prioritise investments in saving lives, tackling under-nutrition, improving health and getting kids a quality education.

“But our focus will increasingly be on helping developing countries stand on their own feet and build sustainable health and education systems that they invest in themselves.”

Ms Mordaunt was appointed International Development Secretary in November following the resignation of Priti Patel over her unauthorised meetings with senior Israelis.

Ms Mordaunt said she wanted to make sure that aid spending was in the national interest and had been “methodically reviewing every single thing we have done” since taking over at the department.

She said “we need to put some money into trying to head off problems that will be a difficulty for us in the future” such as pandemics.

But she acknowledged “we have other spending priorities in government.”

Ms Mordaunt told BBC Radio 4’s Today: “For me, the bar we need to set on aid spending is not just ‘are we spending this money well’ but ‘could we spend it better in the national interest’ and I think we do need to address that issue head on.”

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