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MPs confirm substantial development aid funding given to P&O owners

29 March 2022

Questions from the International Development Committee to the UK’s development finance institution, CDC Group, have confirmed that substantial sums of development aid investment are being made in the P&O parent company, DP World.

The questions came from Navendu Mishra MP (Labour, Stockport) and the Chair of the Committee, Sarah Champion MP (Labour, Rotherham). The questions were asked at a public session of the International Development Committee held today, March 29 2022. The questions were answered by Nick O’Donohoe, the CEO of CDC, and Caroline Read, the Director of Economic Cooperation and Growth Directorate at the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. The exchange can be seen here. Please listen from timestamp 15.31.35.

The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, made the following statement after the session:

“In October of last year the CDC Group announced the single biggest investment in the organisation’s history in a joint venture with DP World.

“It is difficult to understand the rationale. The UK government is condemning the actions of DP World whilst its development investment arm is using hundreds of millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to support a joint venture with them.

“The UK Government needs to send a clear and consistent message that these sorts of employment practices are unacceptable, and businesses that use them will certainly will not be supported wherever they operate in the world.

“The purpose of CDC is to invest in projects that have beneficial development impacts and would otherwise not be funded. Additionality is at the core of what they do. I’ve no doubt that CDC’s investment in this project would generate jobs and economic growth, but it is difficult to accept that a global supply chain company like DP World would have been unable to find an alternative investment partner.

“It pains me to think of what $720 million could achieve for global health, women’s education or tackling extreme poverty.”

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