Andrew Mitchell gives evidence to International Development Committee

07 December 2022

On Tuesday 6th December, the UK Government’s Minister for International Development and Africa, Andrew Mitchell MP, gave evidence to the UK Parliament’s International Development Committee.

Watch in full here

As part of his evidence, Andrew Mitchell said the Foreign Office is making “fierce and draconian” cuts of about 30% to the bilateral overseas aid program because of the cost of hosting Ukrainian refugees. Mr Mitchell was also quick to volunteer to the Committee that Britain was no longer a “development superpower”.

In his opening remarks, the Minister set out his five priorities for the role:

  1. Increasing the quality of aid spend.
  2. Increasing the quantity of aid spend.
  3. Working closely and collaboratively with the International Development Committee and ICAI (the International Commission for Aid Impact).
  4. Addressing some of the structural challenges in the merging of the FCO and DFID, perhaps creating a dedicated named unit within the FCDO, specifically focusing on international development work.
  5. Building public support for international development by making a strong case from government.

Questions over the session covered a number of areas including:

  • Bilateral vs Multilateral spend
  • Geographic decision making (by Ambassadors / High Commissioners) vs thematic decision making (at a global programmatic level)
  • The impact of the very significant cuts to the aid programme, especially in the bilateral programme
  • The future role of the FCDOs offices in East Kilbride, Scotland

The SMP welcomed Andrew Mitchell’s appointment as the UK Government’s Minister for International Development and Africa in October. He has been a vocal champion for international development for a number of decades and was an outspoken critic of both the loss of DFID as an independent department and the cut to the UK’s total ODA (from 0.7% to, currently, 0.55% of GNI).

While we continue to have very strong concerns about the UK Government’s questionable commitment to international development, we have strong confidence in Andrew Mitchell as Minister. We will continue to watch developments closely.