The Chancellor of the Exchequer in the UK Government today announced the Autumn Budget and Spending Review, which outlines the spending plans for government departments for the next three years. Within the announcement the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, said that the UK’s overseas aid budget would return to 0.7 percent of gross national income (GNI) by the end of the current parliament. This is following the decision to cut the aid budget to 0.5 percent of GNI this time last year.
In response, Professor Melissa Leach, Director at the Institute of Development Studies said:
“It is welcome news that the Chancellor has used today’s budget announcement to confirm that UK aid spending will be restored to 0.7 percent of GNI by 2024/25. This suggests the global outrage at the damage aid cuts made to the UK’s international standing was heard and comes at an important moment ahead of the UK hosting the UN Climate Summit, COP26.
“But, any positivity must be tempered by the lack of clarity provided by the Treasury on how UK aid will be spent and whether other areas of spending such as Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), surplus Covid-19 vaccine doses and debt relief are being conflated as aid spending. If these are included as ODA, it would mean the government is again reneging on its commitment to help those most vulnerable by cutting aid-funded research on the most pressing global challenges – including climate change, poverty and global health security.”