Andrew Mitchell's Dilemma: Defending the UK Aid Budget

U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell records responses to questions posed by Oxfam’s supporters at the Oxfam's 21st Century Aid report launch. At that event, Mitchell outlines actions to boost U.K. aid transparency. Photo by: U.K. Department for International Development / CC BY-NC-ND U.K. Department for International DevelopmentCC BY-NC-ND

With the Department for International Development as the only area of public spending that stands to benefit from significant funding increases in the next few years, U.K. aid chief Andrew Mitchell and his department need to defend the expanded aid budget.

But Mitchell’s dilemma does not end here, according to The Guardian’s Madeleine Bunting.

While he has to defend the aid budget, Mitchell is keen to dissociate from the work of his predecessor and present “a dramatic new departure” as evidenced by his drive for aid transparency and effectiveness.

“He is caught in a dilemma: if he trashes DfID’s record, he emboldens the critics calling for its abolition; if he praises its work, he’s giving credit to the previous government and detracting from the impact he wants to make,” Bunting said.

Apart from this, Mitchell will need to make his aid transparency and effectiveness drive work in Afghanistan, which will receive an increase of 40 percent in U.K. aid.

“[I]t’s widely acknowledged (including in a disturbing chapter in Linda Polman’s book) that the country has gobbled up huge quantities of aid with little to show for it over the last nine years. It is notoriously difficult to achieve results or value for money in conflict states,” Bunting said.

About the author

  • Ma. Rizza Leonzon

    As a former staff writer, Rizza focused mainly on business coverage, including key donors such as the Asian Development Bank and AusAID.