Small charities to get £4m of foreign aid spending after criticism of how big organisations spend funding

Ben Riley-Smith
Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, will announce the new “small charities challenge fund” in a speech on Monday - Credit: Dinendra Haria / Alamy Live News

Small charities are to be given millions of pounds in foreign aid spending as ministers respond to criticism over how big organisations operate. 

Grants of up to £50,000 each will be offered through a new government fund in a boost for family-run charities tackling overseas problems. 

Priti Patel, the International Development Secretary, will announce the new “small charities challenge fund” in a speech on Monday.

She has previously hit out at “profiteering” bosses of big charities who receive six-figure salaries while spending foreign aid money. 

Only charities with an annual income of less than £250,000 can apply for grants, with the fund able to give out £4 million over the next two years.

Ms Patel will say: “I believe smaller organisations are a crucial part of the Great British offer on international development.

“Your organisations are found in every corner of the UK, often run by volunteers and highly valued and trusted by your local communities.

“And it is often your organisations that make some of the most direct connections with the people we’re trying to help and those wanting to help them.

“You are highly effective at building trust with local communities and tailoring your specialist services around people’s actual, day-to-day needs.”

Priti Patel has previously hit out at 'profiteering' bosses of big charities who receive six-figure salaries while spending foreign aid money Credit: Andrew MacColl/REX/Shutterstock/Andrew MacColl/REX/Shutterstock

The announcement comes with the Government’s aid spending commitments under attack from Tory MPs who have questioned the spending priority. 

David Cameron wrote into law a promise to spend 0.7 per cent of GDP on international aid, meaning the department's budget has soared despite cutbacks elsewhere. 

Ms Patel has criticised the bosses of charities and aid contractors who enjoy six-figure salaries while spending aid money from the department. 

She warned charities last year that they must not forget they only exist because of the "generosity and goodwill of people that contribute and donate to them".

An insider at the Department for International Development said: "Lots of Conservative MPs have raised this with us.

"We wanted to make sure that we backed great small British charities who often go unrecognised and sometimes underfunded."

The announcement will come as Ms Patel addresses the Bond Annual Conference, the biggest international development conference in Europe. 

“Britain boasts an extraordinary number of small, grassroots charities who do amazing, often highly innovative work in the world’s poorest places,” she will say. 

“This Government will continue to give all of you our strongest possible support. I want to harness your grassroots knowledge, local contacts and specialist expertise, as we join forces in the battle against global poverty.”

The measures fit with a Culture Department drive which focuses on “putting small charities at the heart of public services”.

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