Andrew Mitchell, Britain's International Development Secretary, said that achieving transparency in the exploitation of mineral resources is one of the most fundamental aspects of development. “If our taxpayers are supporting poverty reduction strategies in countries with significant resources interests that are not being used in the people’s interest, that will bring our use of taxpayers’ money into massive disrepute” he said. Mr Mitchell's department is facing increasing pressure to spend aid funds in needier countries, with funds diverted away from corrupt regimes, amidst severe budget cuts in the Coalition government. Sierra Leone was specifically named as a country of concern, with allegations of corruption in mining deals hanging over the government. It appears then that the aid cuts to errant countries may be more a result of frugality forced by austerity measures, as opposed to a matter of principle. Read more: The Telegraph.