Photo: Simon Davis, DFID | Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) 

UK aid: frequently asked questions

House of Commons briefing paper

House of Commons Library

Jon Lunn; Philip Brien

Friday, June 16, 2017

What is aid? What is the UN 0.7% aid target and why has the UK adopted it? Which government departments spend UK aid? What impact does UK aid have? What will be the impact of Brexit on UK aid? These and other questions are answered in an accessible way in this briefing paper.

The UK’s foreign aid programme was a source of considerable controversy during the 2015-17 parliament. Sections of the public and the media, along with some politicians, questioned the purpose and value of important elements of that programme.

Using a Q&A format, this briefing provides an introduction to the UK’s aid programme and some of the activities flowing from it around the world. By its nature, it cannot be comprehensive in its coverage. It does not take a position on those issues which have generated controversy. Its sole objective is to support an informed debate.

Resource type: briefing

Related Resources

Crowd at Oxford Circus station in London
Experts debate the relationship between media attitudes and the British public’s declining trust in NGOs.
13 November 2018
Refugee camp in Bangladesh
This report explores the dynamics of decision-making in humanitarian aid, looking at the trends that could move us (or prevent us from moving) to a system where people affected by crises are taking the decisions about the aid that they receive.
8 November 2018
Emmanuel, village chief and entrepreneur in CAR
This report looks at UK aid through the lens of its primary and fundamental purpose – to target and eliminate poverty.
1 May 2017