'Watchdogs yesterday warned that ministers cannot prove the aid budget is giving value for money.
In a damning report, the National Audit Office said so many Whitehall departments were doling out the cash that no one was tracking whether the £14billion budget was being spent properly.
It found that the sums going to ‘upper middle income’ countries had risen over the past four years despite promises to target the poorest.
A separate report by another watchdog – the Independent Commission for Aid Impact – raised significant concerns over the international development budget. It questioned the effectiveness of support for marginalised girls and tackling tax evasion, and cited lapses in the ‘do no harm’ principle in conflict zones.
The two reports piled pressure on Rory Stewart, the International Development Secretary, who was knocked out of the Tory leadership race yesterday.
The NAO concluded the Government needed to do more to show the aid budget was ‘effective across the full range of activities it supports’.
While the Department for International Development still hands out most of the cash, other ministries – such as the Foreign Office and the Department for Business – have become involved.
Gareth Davies, who leads the NAO, said the Government does not know whether giving responsibility for spending official development assistance (ODA) to a larger number of departments has had the impact it intended. He added: ‘Its progress in improving the transparency of spending has been slow.'
Read more: Britain's foreign aid shambles: New report reveals payments to wealthier nations from the £14bn budget have INCREASED and ministers cannot prove it provides value for money
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