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Tearfund reaction to DFID and FCO merger

16 Jun 2020

Tearfund joins with other leading development agencies in expressing deep concern at the UK government’s plans to merge the Department for International Development (DFID) with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).

“Merging DFID with the FCO dismantles the UK’s leadership on international development. It suggests we are turning our backs on the world’s poorest people, as well as some of the greatest global challenges of our time: Coronavirus, extreme poverty, climate change and conflict. UK aid risks becoming a vehicle for UK foreign policy, commercial and political objectives, when it first and foremost should be invested to alleviate poverty.

By far the best way to ensure that aid continues to deliver for those who need it the most is by retaining DFID as a separate Whitehall department, with a Secretary of State for International Development, and by pledging to keep both independent aid scrutiny bodies: the Independent Commission for Aid Impact and the International Development Select Committee.”

Nigel Harris, CEO at Tearfund, comments: “We are very concerned that after 23 years as an independent and world-leading development department it has been announced that DFID will merge with the FCO. This comes at a time when it is crucial that the UK does not turn its back on the world’s poorest when we are fighting a global pandemic that will hit those most vulnerable and with the least social protection and healthcare hardest.

“With its dedicated focus on poverty alleviation, DFID has helped to transform the lives of millions living in extreme poverty. It is vital that future aid spending on behalf of the people of the UK continues to deliver with the same level of transparency, accountability and impact for those living in poverty as DFID has consistently done. Now is not the time for the UK to lower its standards on aid. “Tearfund remains committed to working with the UK Government to help lift people out of economic, environmental and spiritual poverty. It is my heartfelt prayer that we will continue to see the UK Aid budget focused on fighting poverty and providing life-saving assistance to those in desperate need.”

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