Penny Mordaunt proposal mustn't 'dilute purpose' of aid

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The Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, has proposed changes to the way that the UK government funds aid projects around the world.

Her proposals, outlined in a speech this morning, include the potential use of for-profit investments by the private sector as part of aid programmes.

Commenting on this morning's speech by the Secretary of State, Mike Noyes – director of policy, advocacy and programmes at ActionAid UK, said: "It’s welcome to hear the Secretary of State reaffirming Britain’s commitment to helping most vulnerable people in the world – including the women and girls who are hit hardest by global crises.

"The 0.7% of overseas support the UK gives reflects the best of British values – it prevents poverty, supports positive change in people’s lives, and helps those in desperate need, including right now in Indonesia.

"But if Britain is to continue the global leadership in this area that Penny Mordaunt rightly asserted, then UK aid must continue to be fully transparent, and focused on supporting people’s rights – not just on increasing trade. Private sector growth on its own doesn’t always translate into prosperity for the poorest. It must be managed and targeted to do so.

"Redefining aid unilaterally will never be the way to maintain leadership. Widening it to include commercial investments would be an unacceptable dilution of its purpose – which is to support the poorest people in the world. Post-Brexit, the government must keep the people who need it most – particularly women and girls – at the heart of British aid.”


For further information, contact the ActionAid UK media team on email:,, or; or if out of hours, on +44 (0) 7753 973 486.

Notes to editors

1. ActionAid is an international charity that works with women and girls living in poverty. Our dedicated local staff are helping end violence against women and girls and changing lives, for good. We won’t stop until women and girls are out of danger, out of poverty and on track to create the future they want.