New Study - A Closer Union: The Political Abuse of Foreign Aid
IPN Press release
In a report in 2009, IPN disclosed that between 2003 and 2006 the Trades Union Congress received over £1.2 million in taxpayers' money ostensibly intended for promoting development in poor countries. A significant amount of this money - which came from the UK Department for International Development (an entity created by the Labour Party in 1997) - was spent in the UK on activities that do not seem to have yielded any practical benefit to the poor either inside or outside of Britain.
Subsequently, IPN discovered that the TUC was recently granted a further £2.4 million by DfID for the period 2009 - 2011.
The new support to the TUC comes from funds intended for large international development NGOs with a track record in poor countries. It’s unclear why this trend has been broken to fund a British trades union.
To make matters worse, unions that are members of the TUC represent over half the funding of the Labour Party. Since the DfID grants to the TUC come with few constraints, it is possible that DfID's money could essentially substitute for money that would otherwise come from member unions - freeing them up to give more to the Labour Party.
Julian Harris, Research Fellow at IPN and co-author of A Closer Union: The Political Abuse of Foreign Aid, said, "This would appear to be a grotesque abuse of taxpayer funds. Not only is the money not going towards promoting economic development in poor countries - it is going to a group whose members have close political and financial ties to the Labour Party."
We should make clear that IPN is non-partisan and this research was never intended to have a party bias. Had we uncovered instances of the DfID funding groups with links to the Conservatives or Liberal Democrats - or should we do so in the future - we would not hesitate to raise similar concerns.
A Closer Union: The Political Abuse of Foreign Aid (published 11 January 2009) is available here:
For more information, contact Caroline Boin, +44 20 3393 8410 (IPN), +44 77 2945 2507 (mobile), cboin |AT| policynetwork.net
Background information: Fake Aid (September 2009)