PRITI PATEL has declared war on UN agencies, charities and fat cat suppliers squandering Britain’s bloated £13 billion foreign aid budget by pledging to crackdown on consultants’ perks.
The International Development Secretary promised to impose stricter controls on daily allowances and travel expenses run up by organisations and firms contracted to run our aid programmes in a bid to protect taxpayers’ money.
Daily pay rates for consultants working on foreign aid schemes in Africa’s poorest areas can run up to £600 a day – equivalent to a £150,000 salary. This comes on top of other expenses.
And all UN agencies that spend Britain’s foreign aid cash take a seven per cent slice to pay for “overheads”.
Ms Patel defended Theresa May’s decision to keep the target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid.
But setting out her reform agenda to a room full of charity workers who spend the cash, the top Tory said: “Across the system, we need more controls but also more accountability when it comes to the basics: daily allowances, travel expenses, pay, and the way the Boards of many organisations work.”
The first ever performance contracts will be introduced to scrutinise foreign aid money flowing to global bodies such as the World Health Organisation and UN humanitarian organisations.
Ms Patel slammed these multilateral organisations for being stuck in a “very, very different era” and had failed to deal with the modern day challenges of migration, counter-terrorism and the “real challenges that we are seeing”.
She promised to “to make these 20th Century organisations more than relevant to the 21st Century”.
The top Tory said: “We are pushing for greater cost effectiveness, efficiency and transparency, but also a multilateral system that is open and effective – not just when it comes to spending money, but also when it comes to achieving outcomes as well.”
Ms Patel will try to cut the cost of major charities delivering foreign aid projects by launching a new scheme to get smaller charities more involved.
All UK-registered charities with an annual income of less than £250,000 will be able to bid for grants up to £50,000.
She said: “Not only am I looking forward to welcoming their bids but I am looking forward to partnering with them, to support them in the development objectives that they want to see make happen.”