21 July 2021

The description of a 95% reduction to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) aid for programme delivery in China applies to only “a portion” of the government and FCDO’s overall aid spend engaging China, an update to UK aid watchdog’s recent report about the UK’s aid partnership with China has found.

Responding to the Independent Commission on Aid Impact’s updated report, Simon Starling, director of policy advocacy and research at Bond the UK network for organisations working international development, said:

“There was a huge lack of transparency and misleading of parliament about the aid cuts this year. We now have confirmation that the headline grabbing “aid cuts to China” were nothing more than spin intended to hide the real consequences of the aid cuts.”

“What was missing from the headline announcement were the marginalised communities on the brink of losing access to vaccinations, clean water, food, shelter, and education. The government must be held accountable for its actions, and ICAI reports play an important role in this.”

ENDS

Notes to editor

  1.  The update to ICAI's information note on UK aid engagement with China can be found here
  2.  The Independent Commission for Aid Impact works to improve the quality of UK development assistance through robust, independent scrutiny. 
  3.  The government's UK Official Development Assistance departmental allocations 2021-22 statement on the cuts to ODA to China can be found here: https://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2021-04-21/hcws935 : “In China, I have reduced FCDO’s ODA for programme delivery by 95% to £0.9m (with additional ODA in this year only to meet the contractual exit costs of former programmes). The remaining £900,000 will fund programmes on open societies and human rights.”
  4.  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.
  5.  For further information or interviews please contact Maryam Mohsin on 07555 336029 or [email protected]