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Committee seeking “more credible answers” from British International Investment

18 April 2024

International Development Committee will write to the Foreign Secretary as the sole shareholder in British International Investment (BII) following the publication of ICAI's review of UK aid to India.

Chair's comment

International Development Committee Chair, Sarah Champion MP, said:

“Last year my Committee reported our concerns about some of BII’s questionable investments and the impact they were having, but this latest ICAI review adds a new and worrying dimension.

“As part of our inquiry BII’s CEO and Chair sought to reassure us that investments in India were only made under strict conditions, including high scores on sustainability and inclusion and clear results for poverty reduction. Yet BII’s responsible investing policy appears to have been egregiously breached in India, with finance given to a social media platform where offers of sexual services and glorification of Hamas’ attacks on Israel can be found. Despite problems around the world with moderation of hateful and illegal content on such platforms, this investment was not even referred to BII’s risk committee.

“To add to our specific concerns about BII losing track and control of the outcomes of its spending through financial intermediaries, just two months after that assurance from its executives last year BII invested in the ‘India Quotient Fund IV’. That fund already had substantial holdings in such social media platforms, and in cosmetics businesses, and had scored only 4 out of 10 on BII’s own impact index. Where is the focus on poverty reduction, where is the focus on responsible investment - and where is the due process in governance at BII?

“My Committee will be writing to British International Investment and the Foreign Secretary as its sole shareholder and we expect some new and more credible answers on these issues.”

Further information

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