To those constituents who contacted me about the Prime Minister’s announcement on 17th June that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) will take over the Department for International Development (DfID)… I share your concerns.
DfID is a world leader in providing life-changing and life-saving support to millions of people around the world. It is consistently rated as the most effective, transparent department at delivering real value for money for British taxpayers.
I firmly oppose this attempt to abolish the department, which will have a life-threatening impact on the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Scrapping a department that is crucial to global vaccine development, provides healthcare and aids the world’s poorest in the middle of a global pandemic is irresponsible, counter-productive and wrong.
The UK Government should be completely focused on steering our country through the challenges we face right now. We have had one of the highest death tolls from COVID-19 in the world, millions of children are out of school and we face the worst unemployment crisis in a generation.
Instead, the Prime Minister has decided to undertake a large-scale restructure costing millions of pounds of public money and to abolish one of the best performing and most important departments, which has done so much to tackle poverty and injustice.
Many independent investigations have shown that DfID’s global leadership on development includes its transparency, accountability and value for money. The FCO routinely comes near the bottom of these metrics.
I am concerned that at a time when we need the global health expertise of DfID to drive the global response to COVID-19, that abolishing DfID will put lives of people in the UK and those abroad at serious risk. I believe this decision is a mistake and represents a retreat from the global stage, reducing our ability to make the world safer, fairer and better for all.
I can assure constituents that I will continue to call for the UK Government to reverse this decision and maintain an independent DfID.