UK Government is spending more UK aid on refugee costs in the UK than in both Africa and Asia  

Today, Wednesday 5 April, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) published its provisional statistics report on how UK aid was spent in 2022.  

This annual publication provides an overview of the provisional UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) spend in calendar year 2022 and has revealed that the UK is spending more UK aid in the UK on refugee costs than on development and humanitarian assistance in both Africa and Asia*.

  • 28.9 % of UK ODA in 2022 was spent on in-donor refugee costs (£3.7bn). This is an increase of 250% (£2.6bn) between 2021 and 2022 and 487% (£3.1bn) from 2020 to 2022. 
  • The UK spent £3.7 billion of the ODA budget on in-donor refugee costs in 2022 compared to £2,047 million spent by the FCDO bilaterally in both Africa and Asia.  
  • FCDO spend to Africa decreased by £256 million and to Asia by £134 million, as part of FCDO’s overall budget reduction. Spend to Europe increased by £249 million (an increase of 405%) due to our increased spend in Ukraine. 
  • The Home Office spent £2,397 million of ODA in 2022, an increase of £1,356 million (130.2%). 
  • The FCDO accounted for 59.8% of UK ODA in 2022, compared to 71.6% in 2021. This is the smallest share of UK ODA reported for FCDO and the first time it’s fallen below 70%. 
  • The total ODA spend for 2022 was £12.8bn, equating to 0.5% GNI. Had the UK met their commitment to 0.7% GNI, the total ODA would have been approximately £17.5 billion. This equates to a cut of £4.7 billion.* 

These statistics align with the FCDO ODA International Programme allocations 2022 to 2023 published last week, which revealed that £1.5 billion will be cut from the FCDO portion of the aid budget next year, despite the additional £2.5 billion added in November for two years, as regional bilateral assistance and programme are cut against domestic spending increases due to the government’s decision to count increasing in-country refugee and asylum seeker costs as part of the already reduced UK aid budget.  

In response to the publication of the provisional Statistics on International Development, Sandra Martinsone, Co-Head of Policy, Advocacy and Research at Bond, said:    

The government is choosing to rinse the UK aid budget to reimburse other departments for refugee support costs at the expense of millions of people facing conflict, climate change and inequality globally. Refugees and asylum-seekers urgently need sufficient support, but that should not come from UK aid which has already been cut and is intended to reduce the root causes of poverty and inequality in lower-income countries and respond to humanitarian crises around the world. The government must urgently stop undermining the purpose of UK aid and start addressing the reasons why so many people globally are forced to leave their homes every day.  


Notes for editors 

  1. *These provisional statistics provide only FCDO data for regional bilateral spend but other department spending in these regions would not be enough. 
  1. *The 0.7% figure is calculated using the total GNI (2,505,567 million), multiply that by 0.007 to get 0.7%. 
  1. The FCDO’s report, Statistics on International Development: provisional UK aid spend 2022 is available online. 
  1. The Official Development Assistance (ODA): FCDO International Programme spend objectives 2022 to 2023 is available online.   
  1. 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. 
  1. For further information or interviews please contact Jess Salter at [email protected] or 07493200979.