26 November 2020

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has confirmed he intends to amend the International Development Act to reduce the proportion the UK spends on aid from 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) to 0.5%. The Foreign Secretary also set out new aid priorities.

Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond, the UK network for organisations working in international development said: 

“It’s sad to see the same government that passed the International Development Act and the 0.7 commitment, with cross-party support, now break their promise to the world's poorest people and abandon their manifesto commitment needlessly. Aid had already been cut as GNI fell, and thousands more lives will now be lost. If the government manages to get the proposed changes to the Act through parliament, at a minimum, they should include a sunset clause that would return the 0.7% commitment automatically, rather than continuing to play politics with the aid budget.  

The Foreign Secretary also seems to have forgotten the “bottom billion” as there seems to be very little change left in the purse to help them based on what has been said today. Though we hope he makes good on his commitment to abide by the OECD-DAC rules, “targeted foreign aid” seems to mean taking foreign aid away from the most vulnerable and towards short-term, self-serving priorities.   

It's these types of broken promises that have tarnished the reputation of UK aid in the eyes of the British public and now the world.” 

ENDS   

Notes to editor   

  1. Foreign aid budget cut to 0.5 per cent of GDP with no end date set – The Independent 
  2. The Foreign Secretary has said he wants to deliver the following using Official Development Assistance: 
  • Climate Change and biodiversity: A greener and cleaner path to growth in developing countries. This will include maintaining our five-year commitment to spend £11.6 billion on climate change, investing in research and science, and supporting countries to develop their own climate action plans.
  • COVID and global health security: Combat Covid-19 and support healthier and more resilient populations in developing countries. We will do this through major investments in global initiatives such as the GAVI vaccine alliance, core funding to the World Health Organisation, and by supporting fragile health systems in developing countries.
  •  Girls' education: A global commitment to get 40 million girls into education and 20 million more girls reading by the age of 10.
  • Science, research, technology: Deliver cutting edge technology and research-led solutions in health, education, resilience, low carbon technologies, agriculture and economic development, conflict and poverty. This includes leveraging global science partnerships, drawing on the UK's own science expertise.
  • Open societies and conflict resolution: Strengthen democratic institutions, human rights, free media and effective governance. This includes international campaigns on democracy, human rights and media freedom, and maintaining an independent UK sanctions regime to tackle global corruption.
  • Humanitarian preparedness and response: Lead stronger collective international response to crises and famine. This includes reforming the international humanitarian system, maintaining a minimum FCDO crisis aid reserve, and promoting science and digital technology to offer faster and cheaper delivery to those affected by crises.
  • Trade and economic development: Build trading and investment partners of the future. This includes helping countries to trade, create better investment environments, infrastructure and access to finance, backed by investment from CDC and UK Export Finance. 

On the 20th November 2020, 187 UK humanitarian, development and domestic charity leaders and organisations wrote a letter to the Prime Minister calling for him to uphold the UK’s commitment to spend 0.7% of our gross national income on aid and development. Ex-PMs, opposition parties, senior Tories, church leaders, Nobel prize winners and global philanthropists have also come out against the proposal. 

For further information or interviews please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]