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UK aid strategy gives 'insufficient focus' to helping world’s poorest, say MPs

2 min read

Britain’s aid strategy risks failing to help the most vulnerable people in developing countries by prioritising trade and investment at home, MPs have warned.

The International Development Committee said they were concerned the UK approach had shown "an insufficient focus on poverty reduction and on helping the very poorest and most vulnerable".

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt previously said ministers’ Economic Development Strategy to tackle poverty while boosting post-Brexit trade was a “win-win”.

But MPs demanded a guarantee that the most marginalised countries do not become the resulting “losers”.

The committee added that the Economic Development Strategy cannot take a “one-size-fits-all” approach, to ensure increased trade is benefiting those most in need.

Committee chair Stephen Twigg said the Department for International Development needed to focus more than just “profit margins”.

“DFID believes that more economic growth leads to fewer people in poverty,” he said.

“While it’s acceptable for UK companies and the government to score ‘wins’ in trade and investment in the world’s least developed countries, this is not a trade-off. It’s not just profit margins that count.

“We welcome the fact that the department lists the reduction of poverty as a key ideal in economic development, but evidence to our inquiry suggested that a strategy heavily weighted towards trade alone can actively disadvantage the most marginalised groups.

"Girls and women, disabled and young people will lose out unless DFID undertakes to protect them. The upcoming Global Disability Summit presents an opportunity to focus strategy on how to reach people with disabilities."

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