Thank you for writing to me about UK spending on overseas aid. I have read your email carefully and noted your views and concerns.
The United Kingdom is, and will always be, an open and outward-looking country, leading in solving the world's toughest problems and striving to be a force for good in the world. UK aid helps to keep the world safe, helps to support some of the world’s poorest, encourages development and microfinance initiatives and plays an important role in terms of vaccinations programmes and health and clean water initiatives. I have been assured that the UK will continue to help many of the world's poorest.
At this time of unprecedented crisis, however, the Government has some very tough choices to make, and the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has announced a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid budget from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of the UK's national income. However, the UK will still spend more than £10 billion next year to fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health.
It is my understanding that the Government intends for the UK to return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows.
Please see below an extract from a letter I have received from the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Steve Barclay, regarding the 2020 Spending Review:
“We also need to prioritise our domestic economic emergency. During a time when we need to prioritise jobs and public services, sticking rigidly to spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on overseas aid is difficult to justify to the British people. We will continue to meet our commitment to the world’s poorest, spending the equivalent of 0.5 per cent of GNI on overseas aid in 2021, allocating £10 billion in this Spending Review. Based on the latest OECD data, this would make the UK the second highest aid donor in the G7 – higher than Italy, Japan, Canada and the US – and considerably higher than the average of the 29 countries on the OECD’s development assistance committee – which in 2019, was just 0.38 per cent. Our intention is to return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows.”
Thank you again for writing to me.
With best wishes.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking