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Boris vows to get 'maximum value' for British taxpayer as he scraps foreign aid department

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Boris Johnson announced the move as part of the “biggest review of Foreign Aid” since the end of the Cold War. The Prime Minister insisted the merger of the two government departments will allow the Foreign Secretary to wield more power on how to manage the distribution of Foreign Aid. Addressing the Commons, Mr Johnson said: “If there is one further lesson is that a hole of Government approach getting maximum value for the British taxpayer is just as important abroad as it is at home.

“This is exactly the moment when we must mobilise every one of our national assets, including our aid budget and expertise to safeguard British interests and values overseas.

“The best opportunity to do that will be a new department charged with using all the tools of British influence to seize the opportunities ahead.”

The announcement comes after crossbench peer Lord Bew conducted a review into UK aid spending to revise the current £14 million aid budget as part of changes to the way Britain interacts with international partners.

The new government department is expected to take on the name of Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office after Mr Johnson told the Commons the DFID spends four times the FCO “yet no single decision-maker in either department is able to unite our efforts or take a comprehensive overview.”

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Mr Johnson insisted the new department will bring together the FCO with British Ambassadors across the world to best represent the interests of the UK and its taxpayers thanks to the expertise members of the DFID developed since 1997.

He also insisted the UK was merely following in the footsteps of other nations such as Canada and Australia to best exploit the assets the British Government has abroad.

The Prime Minister’s speech comes after a virtual meeting with Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel on Monday.

After a review of the ongoing Brexit trade negotiations, Mr Johnson and the top echelons of the European Union agreed talks require a “new momentum” before a deal can be agreed.

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But London also signalled a willingness to consider granting access to its closest commercial partners based on talks over shared quotas.

A UK Government spokesman said: “During the fourth round of negotiations we continued to make our views on fishing clear.

“At the end of the year, we will be an independent coastal state and any agreement we reach with the EU must reflect that.

“We remain willing to work hard to reach a separate fisheries framework agreement with the EU as envisaged by the Political Declaration.

“The EU has maintained its position which seeks to tie a fisheries framework agreement to the wider FTA and maintain the status quo on access provisions and quota sharing. This is incompatible with our future status as an independent coastal state.

“We cannot agree arrangements that are manifestly unbalanced and against the interests of the UK fishing industry.”



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