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Government is ‘struggling’ to spend foreign aid budget in calendar year - report

Government is ‘struggling’ to spend foreign aid budget in calendar year - report

Agnes Chambre

1 min read

The Government is “struggling” to spend its entire foreign aid budget prompting departments to “rush” to hit the legal requirements without proper checks, the Whitehall spending watchdog has warned.

The National Audit Office found five of the 11 departments charged of the 0.7% budget spent it in the last quarter of the year.

Their latest report says the Department of International Development had improved their management of the budget but raised doubts about the 26% of the aid budget now spread across other departments.

The NAO said this can create “gaps in accountability and responsibility” and “requires more effort to manage.”

The head of the NAO Sir Amyas Morse said: "The Government has decided that departments and cross-government funds other than DfID should have responsibility for expenditure which makes up the 0.7 per cent aid target.  

"This means that meeting the target has become a more complex undertaking and the resulting gaps in accountability and responsibility require more effort to manage.

"HM Treasury and DfID, together with other relevant bodies, should now focus on developing ways to demonstrate the overall effectiveness and coherence of ODA expenditure."

Theresa May has come under increasing pressure to cut the foreign aid budget but included a pledge to keep it enshrined in law in the last Tory manifesto.

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