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Outside the HM Treasury 

UK government Spending Round: implications for international aid

4 September 2019

In today’s UK government Spending Round, Chancellor Sajid Javid pledged that the UK would continue to meet its commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid.

Announcements on UK Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) included:

  • A 1.5% increase in the Department for International Development’s (DFID) resource budget in real terms.
  • At least £170 million to deliver humanitarian support to Yemen and Syria and support refugees in the Middle East.
  • £250 million for the international climate and environment funds, including the Green Climate Fund (GCF). 
  • An additional £50 million of ODA funding for the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) (increasing to £675m).
  • An additional £15 million for the Prosperity Fund (increasing to £305m).
  • Expanded support for cross-government ODA capability building through the provision of rovision of additional DFID staff to assist other departments spending ODA.
  • £333 million in ODA funding from DFID to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), including an extra £50 million to support the UK’s existing foreign policy objectives and commitments.
  • £87 million of additional ODA funding to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to deliver the government’s commitments to help developing countries reduce their carbon emissions and adapt to the effects of climate change.
  • £65 million of additional ODA funding to the Home Office for the asylum system.
  • An additional £30 million to Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to support developing nations to conserve and enhance their biodiversity, to help halt and then reverse the decline in global biodiversity.

The Spending Round document also commits to policies such as reducing poverty, promoting healthcare, crises funding, research, clean water, promoting economic development and contributing to multilateral organisations such as the World Bank. However, the exact amount spent on these areas wasn’t specified. 

Claire Godfrey, Interim Director of Policy, Advocacy and Research at Bond, the UK network for NGOs said: 

“We welcome the government’s commitment to the UK’s aid target and hope this translates into aid and development policies that help people hit hardest by poverty, conflict and climate change, keeping them at the heart of the UK’s international development agenda. UK aid has helped improve the lives of millions, enabling people living in some of the poorest parts of the world to live healthier, safer and more prosperous lives.

"However, it’s how aid is spent that matters, and we would call on the government to ensure that all development aid remains focused on its primary objective of helping the world’s poorest people. We would urge the government to increase DFID’s oversight of other department’s aid spending to protect the UK’s world class reputation for ensuring that all aid contributes to poverty reduction, meets internationally agreed rules, and remains untied to our strategic and economic interests.”

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