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26 June 2007

Barrett attacks SNP for risking jobs by ‘playing politics’ with international aid

John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today attacked the SNP for playing politics with international aid and warned that moves to give the Scottish Executive more control over international aid could mean job losses at the International Development Headquarters at East Kilbride.

Speaking ahead of a visit to East Kilbride by the International Development Select Committee, Mr Barrett warned that giving in to SNP demands to give the Scottish Executive control over overseas development aid could lead to job losses in Scotland and would limit the effectiveness of that aid.

John Barrett, a member of the International Development Select Committee for five years and now a spokesman on international development, said:

“The SNP still hasn’t some around to the fact that aid and development is a serious political issue not to be used for party political points scoring. The most important thing is not where aid comes from, but what difference it makes on the ground.

“The fact is that the Department of International Development has the experience, the skills and the expertise to get the best value from the aid we give. To simply try to duplicate these skills in the Scottish Executive, especially when DFID’s headquarters are in East Kilbride, just does not make any sense.

“If Scotland had a separate aid budget from the rest of the UK, DFID would not retain their headquarters in Scotland and it would be impossible to retain the bulk of the 558 DFID staff who are currently employed at East Kilbride. If this was happened, many would lose their jobs, and Scotland would lose access to the channels for delivering aid through DFID that maximise the effectiveness of that aid.

“The SNP keep talking about the “distinctive contribution” Scotland can make to international aid, however in reality delivering effective aid is a complex issue. What is most important is securing efficient delivery systems for aid. These are best accessed through DFID and the skilled staff at East Kilbride.”

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This website was established while I was a Member of Parliament. The site content is being kept online as a source of information, but all forms / email have been disabled.