RAPID RESPONSES

Tough love

[Re: Let’s stop wasting our aid budget on funding lobbyists, yesterday]
Raheem Kassam is right to expect maximum value for money from Britain’s aid budget and that is why tackling the cancer of fraud and corruption is a top priority for the coalition. Our message is clear: those who undermine progress in the world’s poorest countries, put British taxpayers’ money at risk, or treat the UK as a safe haven for stolen assets, will be brought to justice. The DFID-funded Metropolitan Police investigation into former Nigerian governor James Ibori, who pleaded guilty to embezzlement of Nigerian public funds that should have been spent providing services to Nigerians, shows that our tough approach is working. This government has overhauled Britain's aid programme to focus on getting results for the world's poorest people. In the next four years we will vaccinate more than 55m children and halve the number of deaths from malaria in the ten worst affected countries. In partnership with City A.M., we will also help Opportunity International give 10,000 of the poorest people in Malawi access to savings accounts and micro-finance to help pull themselves out of poverty.

Stephen O’Brien

Conservative MP for Eddisbury, and parliamentary under-secretary of state for international development

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