Thursday, May 25, 2006

Better or Worse? p.190

More opening of the book to a random page.  On page 190 of Better or Worse?, Toynbee and Walker write:

" 2005 it [i.e. DFID] was pushing £9 out of every £10 in UK aid to low-income countries.  Half of DFID's bilateral aid went to Africa..."

No.  According to the DFID's Statistics on International Development 2005 (aka SID), in 2004/5 DFID's total bilateral programme was £2.14bn, of which £0.87bn went to Africa (source: Table 11 of SID.  pdf link here).  This is 40%, not half.

Similarly, £1.42bn went to low-income countries (see p.4 of the pdf linked above).  Of DFID's total bilateral programme, I make this about £6.59 out of every £10, and not £9.

But this is DFID's bilateral aid, whereas Polly's "£9 out of every £10" figure ostensibly refers to all aid, and DFID's bilateral programme is only a portion of all UK aid.  In 2003/4, for example, total gross public expenditure on bilateral aid was some £2.61bn (of which some £1.97bn was spent through DFID -- comparable to the £2.14bn figure for 2004/5 quoted above), whereas total gross public expenditure on aid of all kinds was £4.74bn (source: Annual Abstract of Statistics 2005, p.9.  The two series I am referring to are LUQL and LUPI).  The difference is made up of moneys given to multilateral agencies to spend, of which by far and away the largest proportion goes to the European Community for them to disburse.  Could they be spending so much money on supporting low-income countries to make Polly's figures accurate?  Sadly, probably not.  Says who?  Says Polly:

Gordon Brown was critical of the EU's aid programme which dispensed £6bn a year.  Instead of hitting the most extreme poverty, money flowed to favoured areas, notably the Balkans...

This quote is from Better or Worse?, p.190.


maria said...

This blog gets better and better. Polly's editor needs to know the consequences of letting her near a keyboard and as for her book!!! You MUST keep up the good work!

drewmalins said...

Interesting blog summarised by meticulous, often purposeless pedantry. Unless you have a compendium of "correctional" unravelling exercises covering the whole spectrum of vaguely leftist correspondents, Pilger, Fisk, Younge, Freedland etc.. From my perspective Toynbee is such a triviality that this blog only serves to garner undeserved credibilty to a blatantly partisan New Labour cheerleader. Still, some the devil's in the detail, I suppose...