I revealed last night that five of Britain’s main aid charities (including Oxfam and Save the Children) have written to Andrew Mitchell, development secretary, to express concerns about his dropping of scores of aid targets. He has replied, insisting that aid will still be ring-fenced and that in some cases will in fact increase.
Coalition officials insist that the targets were only “input tracking mechanisms” that are irrelevant to spending decisions or resource allocation by Dfid. This would instead be determined by three seperate reviews of aid that are taking place at present….But in their letter the five charities said that those public commitments being dropped had often been “vital political and technical tools” to ensure effective delivery of policy. Many had strong public backing, were measurable targets for holding governments to account and provided international comparison and leverage on other governments.
I also picked up rumours that the Dfid submission to the CSR will mean more job losses for staff in the East Kilbride office than at the London HQ. This was wrong, I was firmly told – although their statement seems a bit ambiguous.
All government departments are seeking to reduce their administration budgets by a third and DFID is no exception. However, we have already announced that 70 posts will relocate to East Kilbride from other offices.
Meanwhile Guido is reporting that Gordon Brown may join the shadow cabinet in the development role. Hard to imagine the former prime minister playing second fiddle to one of the Miliband brothers, but you never know.