Private sector approach set to benefit big business rather than the poorest in India

WDM has reacted with concern to international development secretary Justine Greening’s announcement today that no new British financial aid grants will be made to India with immediate effect, and that from now on UK aid to India will focus on private sector projects designed to help the poor while generating a return.

Responding to this news, Alex Scrivener, policy officer for the World Development Movement said:

“It is worrying that the UK government has decided to cut all financial aid to India, which is home to a third of the world’s poorest people. While there may be a lot of money within the Indian elite, the country remains a very unequal society, with around half a billion people living in extreme poverty.

“But what is more worrying, is that UK aid money will continue to be spent on private sector projects that support the interests of big business rather than the poor. In the Indian state of Orissa, UK aid has been used to draft a government policy giving free land and tax breaks to auto-component multinationals and promote public-private partnerships in health and education – a model that has served only to fill the pockets of big business at taxpayers’ expense here in the UK. In neighbouring Bangladesh, UK aid money has helped set up ‘special economic zones’ where multinational companies like Nike and Adidas are allowed to pay workers less than £1 a day and restrict their right to trade union membership”

“The UK government must continue helping the world’s poorest wherever they are, including India.  But this must be done through tackling the root causes of poverty, like unfair trade deals and dangerous climate change. ”

For more information please contact Kathryn Excell

T (+44) (0)20 7820 4923


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