Aid groups, political parties slam VVD’s development budget plan

Suggestions by two prominent VVD members that the aid budget be slashed from €4.4bn to €1.4bn have been condemned by charities, rival parties and VVD members themselves, Nos television reports.

Parliamentary party leader Stef Blok and MP Ingrid de Caluwe said in an opinion piece in Saturday’s Volkskrant the results from aid expenditure over the past 60 years have been ‘not exactly convincing, to put it mildly’. In many cases, development aid is a ‘drastic flop’, the MPs write.
The MPs call for an end to direct subsidies to organisations such as Oxfam Novib and Doctors without Borders. ‘Their phone numbers are on their websites,’ the MPs argue. They also argue there is no need for the Netherlands to meet the internationally-agreed target of spending 0.7% of GDP on aid, pointing out that just four other countries do so.
The call for a €3bn cut in aid spending goes further than the VVD’s manifesto at the last general election, which called for the budget to be halved.
Senior VVD party members such as former minister Ed Nijpels described the suggestion as ‘too tough’ while current aid minister Ben Knapen said the plan would ‘effectively end’ the Dutch development contribution.