Focus: Policy and Politics - Question Time - Malcolm Bruce MP, Liberal Democrat

What is the main purpose of the International Development Select Committee, which you chair, and what are your goals for the coming year?

The committee has two key roles. First, to support and reinforce the Department for International Development and aid programmes to ensure they are being effective and well managed. Second, to expose any shortcomings and areas in which the department or programmes have failed to deliver.

The committee has not yet made a final decision on what its main purpose will be next year, although we will be looking at the evidence and seeing how G8 objectives can be delivered.

Do you plan to work with charities and voluntary organisations?

All of the individuals in the committee are highly committed to ensuring we have effective aid programmes, so the answer is yes. We will work both formally and informally with NGOs and charities, although we also want to be objective.

The UK has doubled its donations to the Global Fund to fight Aids, TB and malaria. What more can be done?

There are two main questions here: how do we ensure we don't just throw money at it. And how does money get to the people who need it?

Which countries could make a greater contribution?

The obvious answer is the United States, although to some extent the EU could also do more. Bilaterally, the UK and France have done a lot in Africa, but we need wider European engagement. Although it is not the job of the committee to put pressure on the US, there is a certain irony in its position in light of the events in New Orleans recently.

ActionAid has said that DfID spending on HIV/Aids lacks clarity. What's your view on this?

We can't really take a line on this at the moment, but our committee will be looking at what is being done. We will certainly investigate and, at some point, have some views to express.

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