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Brexit threat to aid priorities

Published: 29 Jan 2018 00:01
Part of:
International

International development not about own ‘national interest’.

The UK’s foreign development budget must not be used to mitigate the negative effects of Brexit, International Development Minister Dr Alasdair Allan has said.

Writing to Penny Mordaunt, Secretary of State for International Development, Dr Allan raised concerns about her comments in a newspaper article, in which she pledged to use Britain’s foreign aid as part of a “bold new Brexit-ready proposition to boost trade and investment with developing countries”.

In his letter, Dr Allan said:

“I was concerned to read that you intend to use UK aid to mitigate the negative impacts of Brexit on trade and investment with the UK’s security and prosperity key factors in deciding how aid is spent. The reiteration that aid spend must be ‘in the national interest’ was particularly disappointing.

“The Scottish Government’s International Development Policy positively articulates the vision of Scotland’s place in the world as a good global citizen, committed to playing its role in contributing to addressing the challenges faced by our world. We are also committed to delivering the First Minister’s support of the UN Global Goals.

“I would, therefore, be grateful for further clarity on your intentions for UK aid and your commitment to international development following your comments in the Telegraph.

“I hope that aid spend by the UK Government, whether by DFID or via the increasing role of other UK departments, will clearly be designed to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries – not the UK’s own national interest, now or post-Brexit.”

Background

Dr Allan’s letter was instigated by Penny Mordaunt’s comments made this month in a Daily Telegraph article.