FCDO publishes UK aid budget 8 months late and on the final day of budget period – Bond reacts

Yesterday, 30 March, FCDO published its UK aid allocations for 2022 to 2023, eight months later than expected and on the final day of the budget period.

In reaction to the government publishing the allocations at the eleventh hour, Mike Wright, Director of Membership and Communications at Bond, said: 

It is disappointing that the FCDO published its UK aid budget for 2022-23, not only eight months late, but also on the final day of the budget period. This is alarmingly non-transparent and blocks effective scrutiny of how the government is spending UK aid. Government budgets and spending should be published in a timely, consistent, and accessible way so there is transparency for both the British taxpayer and the communities the UK supports. These shocking figures confirm that the FCDO had to reduce their budget by £1.7bn, meaning once again those impacted by poverty, conflict and climate change will lose support. 

With the budget in its current form, it is impossible to get an accurate understanding of the total amount that was planned to be spent on humanitarian support, health, education and gender equality. We have no idea how much is actually being spent compared to previous years and are unable to monitor whether the government is spending taxpayers’ money on development and humanitarian issues as promised. 

Notes for editors. 

  1. The FCDO International Programme spend objectives 2022 to 2023 were due to be published in July 2022 in line with government process, but instead were published eight months late, on the final day of the budget period. Publishing a budget in advance of the money being spent is crucial. It allows meaningful accountability for the British public, with an opportunity for the FCDO to change their plans in light of public scrutiny, and ensures civil society can understand and potentially support the department’s plans. In Andrew Mitchell’s written ministerial statement on 30 March 2023, he admitted that the department’s “spending plans have changed” following the release of the updated Integrated Review 2023.  
  2. The allocations reveal major cuts for regional bilateral aid and programme cuts, while domestic spending increases as a result of the government’s decision to count increasing in-country refugee and asylum seeker costs as part of the UK aid budget. The Official Development Assistance (ODA): FCDO International Programme spend objectives 2022 to 2023 is available online. 
  3. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 400 civil society organisations from across the UK, and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice. 
  4. For further information or interviews please contact Jess Salter at [email protected]