31 March 2022

The UK's aid cuts policy lacked transparency and consultation according to a major new report by the country’s public finances watchdog, the National Audit Office, which also said the policy did not sufficiently consider the impact on development programs.

The review examined how the government carried out the reduction of the official development assistance budget by £4.2billion - from 0.7% to 0.5% of gross national income - which was announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in November 2020. The review did not make a judgment on the decision to cut the budget. 

Responding to the report’s findings, Abigael Baldoumas, Policy & Advocacy Manager at Bond, the UK network for NGOs said:
“This report confirms what we feared from the outset. The scale and speed of the cuts – £4.2billion in a matter of months – meant decisions were taken without sufficient consultation with FCDO’s partners or any consideration for the harm they would cause marginalised communities, undermining both UK aid’s value for money and its contribution to alleviating poverty.
"We now know just how opaque the process was, how rushed and outsized the cuts to bilateral programmes were, and have more detail about where the cuts fell. The UK government must learn from its mistakes and implement the NAO’s recommendations, including assessing the impacts of the cuts, improving transparency and preparing for a return to 0.7%.”

ENDS

Notes to editor:

  1. For a copy of the NAO’s report, Managing reductions in Official Development Assistance spending, please contact [email protected] 020 7798 7677 / 07972 215 444
  2. 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.
  3. For further information or interviews please contact Juliet Conway on 07990518334 or [email protected]
  4. On the 23 March, 200 UK NGOs protested Foreign Secretary Liz Truss’ plans to deprioritise health, climate change and conflict prevention in new strategy