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Priti Patel is right to target corruption and seek transparency, says Christian Aid

September 14 2016 - Responding to a newspaper article today by Development Secretary Priti Patel, Christian Aid’s Chief Executive Loretta Minghella said there was much with which to agree.

“Priti Patel is right to say that the UK is at the forefront of the fight against poverty, and that continuing that battle is absolutely in our national – and international – interest. As Ms Patel recognises, people striving to free themselves from poverty don’t want handouts or to be locked in a cycle of dependency,” she said.

“British people will only remain proud of our aid if they feel confident that it reaches the poorest communities who need it most. Priti Patel’s department is committed to transparency but she needs to take this message to other government departments like the Foreign Office, which haven’t yet been awarded top ratings for the way they spend aid.”

Ms Minghella added: “Ms Patel is also right to put the scourge of corruption front and centre of DFID’s work. Tax dodging and embezzlement drain poorer countries of much-needed funds for essential services like health and education - and this is facilitated by global networks of corruption that even touch UK shores.

“Among the worst offenders are UK Overseas Territories such as the British Virgin Islands, which featured so heavily in the Panama Papers. Theresa May’s Government must start by cleaning up our own back yard.

“We understand Ms Patel’s desire to emphasise the benefits of aid to the UK but the first priority of UK aid must be to end poverty and leave no-one behind - not to oil the wheels of British business.

“The vast majority of poor people work in locally-based small and medium-sized enterprises and DFID should be targeting support at them, not at multinationals based here in the UK. Increased trade supported by the aid budget ought to benefit the poorest most, not those who already prosper.”

Ends

For more information please contact Rachel Baird on rbaird@christian-aid.org  or 07850 242950.

Notes to editors:

1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change explains how we set about this task.

3. Christian Aid is a member of ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. 

4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

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