Tuesday, 19 June 2018

Now it's time for the DFID dividend

Much criticism has been levelled at Mrs May's promise to give the Brexit dividend to the NHS on the dubious claim that there is no such dividend. As Mogg pointed out commonsense dictates there is a dividend. The IFS. BoE etc don't do commonsense or Mrs Thatcher style housekeeping.

There is an even bigger pot of money wasted that we could reclaim for the NHS and that is the whole DFID dept and budget of around £14 bn. I am not against giving aid to poor people in poor countries.but institutionalising it into the traditional Civil Service bureaucratic departmental structure headed up by a  permanent sec, sec of state plus support staff and fixed budget is clearly the wrong structure. It has generated a whole new tribe in Africa , the Wabenzi, called after the Mercedes Benz motor cars corrupt African government officials buy with our Aid money.

The worst thing for a career civil servant to do is not to spend his budget. HMT will simply take that money away next year  saying you can obviously manage on less. This ensures you  a rapid transfer to the DVLC, the civil service gulag. Hence towards the end of the financial year DFID runs around like a headless chicken seeking to spend money on anything that will spend all the budget.This ensure  thegongs for the mandarins are safe.

There are other and more effective ways of managing aid e.g. Melissa Gates very effective anti-malaria programme. She and Bill with a matching contribution from Warren Buffet are simply following the model instituted by previous great US philanthropists particularly the Dunfermline born Andrew Carnegie whose 100 year old foundation still funds students at Scottish and other universities. It also funded a huge programme of  Uk public library building most of which are still in use. That is the model we should follow on Aid spending. Shut down DFID and its Sir Humphreys. Deliver better aid programmes and save money to boot. Now that is a real dividend.for the UK populace Mrs May.


Stephen Harness said...

The big mistake of Cameron/Osborne was to set the 0.7% of GDP figure for foreign aide.
I could possibly agree with a statement that said 0.7% of GDP when the UK economy is in the black, if it ever is again. To borrow money to give away is pure insanity. Water aide, food aide, disaster relief but not the crazy give away we have experienced.

Niall Warry said...

While I'm for reducing the DFID budget and certainly spending any monies more wisely it has to be said that at 0.7% of GDP it is not a large amount.

Something I do know Eric, and you have done it here, is that there is not enough money to go around when you consider the large number of people and groups who believe this £14 billion could be better spent on their own project.

The financial problems in the country are far greater than saving the £14 billion of DFID's budget.

Eric Edmond said...

Major Warry, for comparison can you remind us what is the annual budget for the British Army last fiscal year including or excluding pensions

Niall Warry said...

All I know is it too is not a large amount given a government's key role is national defence.

It needs and should be larger.

For my money the NHS and Social Serurity, two of the BIG spenders, need rooty and branch reform with a far greater onus put on the citizen to take back more responsibiulity for thier own lives.

Tough love is the ONLY way forward.