Fury as parent company P&O Ferries handed over £550m in aid to UK despite mass layoffs – Reuters

P&O Ferries’ parent company is receiving £550m from Britain’s reduced aid budget to expand ports in Africa despite laying off 800 workers on the spot, sparking further anger in Parliament.

MPs are demanding an explanation for the huge amount of funding – accusing the government of putting business investment ahead of “fighting extreme poverty” as many other aid projects are cut.

It is also an “inappropriate” use of aid money as DP World, the Dubai-based parent company, could find a private partner to develop the ports, according to the CID chair in general.

Sarah Champion said: “It pains me to think of what more than £500m can do in global health, women’s education or the fight against extreme poverty.”

Navindu Mishra, a member of the commission, attacked the amount “paid to a notorious employer” when “800 workers were treated in a disgraceful manner”.

In the wake of the P&O scandal, ministers pledged to review all DP World contracts, but the committee was told it was too late to stop delivery of £550m.

Moreover, the head of the financial arm behind the growing share of UK aid spending has pledged to make the same investment again regardless of massive layoffs at P&O, praising its “enormous” potential.

The controversy comes after the government admitted it was unable to sue P&O, despite admitting it had willfully violated UK law and despite Boris Johnson’s pledge that the company would be “brought to justice”.

It also lifts the veil on the activities of the aid-financing arm, called the CDC Group, which has previously been accused of supporting “only the most fragile related projects for poverty reduction”.

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A coalition of charities have attacked the imminent change of its name to British International Investment (BII), arguing that it is placing a new focus “only on private sector investment and making a profit”.

A protest letter signed by Christian help And the Global justice now.

CDC Group acquired a minority stake in a $1.7 billion (£1.29 billion) joint venture with DP World, and invested $320 million initially and another $400 million in ports in Egypt, Senegal and Somaliland, for a total value of £550 million. sterling.

Foreign Secretary Liz Truss said that even as the aid budget shrank, the group’s share had risen to around £780m, as part of a shift towards building “economic partnerships”.

Ms Champion criticized the port expansion financing because DP World may “find other investors”, adding: “Our assistance should only be used as a last resort.

The UK government condemns the actions of DP World as the development finance arm is using hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayer money to support a joint venture with them.

“You should send a clear and consistent message that these types of hiring practices are unacceptable – and companies that employ them will certainly not be supported wherever they operate in the world.”

But challenge-defying CDC CEO Nick O’Donohue asked if the group would make the same investment, aware of P&O’s layoffs, told the committee, “Yes.”

Describing the benefits as “enormous,” he said, “the issue of the impact here is overwhelming, and the difference it will make in the lives of people in these countries.”

Mr O’Donohue argued that it was “too difficult” for the company to find other private funds, adding: “There aren’t many commercial investors willing to invest in Somaliland.”

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He insisted that DP World must follow international social and environmental standards set by the World Bank, telling MPs: “They are contractually obligated to follow this.”

But, seated next to him, Carolyn Reed, the State Department’s director of economic cooperation, was unable to say how to hold the company accountable.

When asked how anyone can “believe what DP World has said when they are completely comfortable breaking UK law”, she admitted that the government could only “assume it would meet these standards.”

Ministers also refused to bar the company from running the London Gateway Freeport – an investment that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps called “exciting” when he met DP World chiefs in Dubai at the end of last year.

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