HC Deb 10 January 2001 vol 360 c580W
18. Mr. Goggins

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will make a statement on her proposal to separate development assistance from conditions relating to trade. [143213]

Mr. Foulkes

In our White Paper on making globalisation work for the poor, published on 11 December 2000, we announced that from 1 April 2001, all UK development assistance will be untied.

Improving the effectiveness of development assistance is essential if we are to reduce the proportion of people living in absolute poverty. This means helping developing countries to establish and implement poverty reduction policies, finding ways of overcoming critical constraints and ceasing to finance projects that have no strategic impact. It also means donors working closely together and ending inefficient practices. Aid tying is a notable example. Donors must also develop common procedures to reduce the administrative burden on recipient governments.

Ring-fencing contracts for national suppliers not only reduces the value of aid by around 25 per cent. but is also grossly inefficient and inhibits efforts to integrate donor strategies and procedures. By untying we will be able to make better use of resources available to tackle poverty. Our action also strengthens our position in pressing vigorously for untying by others both in the OECD and in the European Union.