Former Government Advisor Tom Swarbrick Highlights Flaw In Foreign Aid Spending

30 September 2019, 00:56 | Updated: 2 October 2019, 15:17

Former Downing Street advisor Tom Swarbrick has used his LBC show to highlight a surprising way in which he believes taxpayers' money is being spent wrongly, as part of the foreign aid budget.

Tom was speaking after it was revealed that former Foreign Secretary David Miliband is being paid almost £750,000 per year, to run the New York-based humanitarian aid charity, the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

Despite being in favour of British funds being used for foreign aid programmes, he highlighted how Department for International Development (DfID) budgets have shown the money which British taxpayers have given to large charities.

The IRC was given almost £50million last year, while some £86million was given to fellow humanitarian charity Save the Children.

Because of this, Tom says, the British Government should have some say in who is appointed to run such organisations.

David Miliband at a UN Global Humanitarian Policy Forum in 2017
Former Labour Foreign Secretary David Miliband is now the chief executive of the International Rescue Committee. Picture: PA

He then made the shocking revelation that in order to meet the UK's target of spending 0.7 percent of GDP in foreign aid spending, DfID "are shovelling money out of the door to all and sundry",

Tom argued that that "that is not a way to run anything - let alone an organisation that is there to try and do good around the world", adding that this ends up becoming "an argument against the aid budget, not for it".

Regarding David Miliband's salary, Tom concluded that "I don't know how he can justify that, I don't know how the British taxpayer can justify that, and I don't know how the government can justify giving British taxpayers' money to an organisation where the charity boss is earning that much".

A DFID spokesperson said: “DFID is committed to achieving value for money for UK taxpayers and the people that we serve in poor countries.

“The salaries of staff are a matter for the trustees of charities to determine.”

An IRC spokesperson said: "David Miliband is an employee of the IRC’s global headquarters in New York, which is a separate legal entity from IRC UK, and which is now an $800m organisation. David Miliband's salary is set by the IRC US board of directors’ compensation committee.

"As a global organisation, with 20,000 staff working in more than 40 countries, this salary is in the middle of the range of New York's non-profit CEO salaries. IRC receives consistently high ratings for its efficient and effective work with DFID to save and change lives around the world. DFID programme funds are spent on programming around the world to help the most vulnerable."