Latest foreign aid revelations show decision to ringfence ill-advised

Prof Philip Booth says MPs' concerns unsurprising

Responding to the news that the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has expressed ‘concern’ at the way foreign aid money is being spent in Africa, Prof Philip Booth, Editorial and Programme Director at the IEA, said that their concern is unsurprising as foreign aid has a terrible long-term record.

He said:

“Foreign aid has a terrible long-term record, and there is no positive relationship between aid and economic growth. The coalition’s current fixation with aid spending is ill-advised and simply continues a history of misguided government policy in this field.

“As other departments are having their budgets cut, the Department for International Development is seeing its budget increase. The record of foreign aid is already very poor and increasing aid rapidly is likely to lead to hugely diminishing returns and lessening outcomes  - indeed the net result may well be economic damage to the recipient countries.

“The coalition government policy with regard to aid focuses  on inputs – particularly the amount spent but also the number of schools built, and so on. We need instead to focus on outcomes such as the number of children being well educated – after taking account of the damage aid might do to "home grown" development efforts. If we w