Tory foreign aid voucher scheme 'would not work'

ActionAid has urged the Conservative Party not to push aid agencies down the road of service delivery in the developing world.

Tom Sharman, policy co-ordination officer at the charity, opposed the party's idea of 'aid vouchers', which people in developing countries could redeem against services delivered by aid agencies and NGOs, saying it categorises aid agencies as service providers.

Andrew Mitchell, the shadow international development minister, gave his support to the scheme at the Conservative Party conference in Bournemouth last week. "I want to see poor people as masters and owners of the international development system, and not as passive recipients," he said.

But Sharman warned that vouchers were not the best way to take things forward. "The scheme sees NGOs as service providers rather than campaigning organisations," he said. "It will be expensive to administer and it's not clear that you'd have a genuine choice of provider."

Sharman argued that a "patchwork quilt" of providers would be unsustainable.

"What happens when they withdraw from that area?" he said. "They're not going to stay there forever."

But ActionAid welcomed Mitchell's announcement about plans for an independent watchdog to investigate aid agencies.

Mitchell told the conference that aid agencies should be subject to independent evaluation, not just self-evaluation as at present.

"We have asked our policy group to consider setting up an international aid watchdog," he said. "This would provide an objective evaluation of British aid."

The Conservative Party is working with charities to develop its international aid policies through the Globalisation and Global Poverty Challenge - a commission set up by Tory leader David Cameron last year. Bob Geldof is among its advisers.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +

Latest Jobs

RSS Feed

Third Sector Insight

Sponsored webcasts, surveys and expert reports from Third Sector partners

Markel

Expert Hub

Insurance advice from Markel

Cyber and data security - how prepared is your charity?

With a 35 per cent rise in instances of data breaches in Q2 and Q3 last year, charities must take cyber security seriously

Third Sector Logo

Get our bulletins. Read more articles. Join a growing community of Third Sector professionals

Register now