THE Scottish Government is rejecting the UK Government’s trade-based approach to international aid, otherwise known as Overseas Development Assistance.

In an interview with the respected Washington-based Devex social media platform, Ben Macpherson, Scotland’s minister for Europe, migration, and international development emphasised the different approaches of Westminster and Holyrood, the former recently promoting the idea of aid benefitting British businesses.

He said: “In terms of policy priority, we are absolutely committed that international development should be in the national interests of our partner countries and not in Scotland’s national interest.”

Macpherson welcomed the UK Government’s commitment to meeting the UN aid target of 0.7% but said: “We as a devolved government offer something distinctive. Our focus is how we do the most with what we’ve decided to allocate here in Scotland.

“We would certainly not want to see a blurring of the lines. We think they’re different and we’re very committed to that differentiation.”

MacPherson added: “The strength of our commitment from a government perspective is that we are absolutely committed to the Beyond Aid agenda and our work is focused on how we strengthen capacity, utilize partnership, work with other people, build relationships.”

“[We ask] how does that all come together to deliver the biggest impact for those who need our assistance and how to make that difference for the medium- and long-term as well as in the here and now.”