Rishi Sunak confirms that the UK will INCREASE money spent on the poor abroad back to 0.7 per cent of GDP having been cut to pay for Covid spending in the UK – but not until 2024
Rishi Sunak revealed today that the UK will re-up its spending on the world’s poor – but delayed the increase.
Boris Johnson’s Government faced widespread criticism when it cut the foreign aid budget from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent in the summer to divert cash into the UK.
But the Chancellor today confirmed that the 0.7 per cent rate would return, telling MPs that faster than expected economic growth allowed it.
However critics pointed out that it would be brought back in 2024/25, before the end of the Parliament but a year after it was expected to bounce back in 2023.
The Chancellor today confirmed that the 0.7 per cent rate would return, telling MPs that faster than expected economic growth allowed it.
However critics pointed out that it would be brought back in 2024/25, before the end of the Parliament but a year after it was expected to bounce back in 2023
Mark Sheard, chief executive of children’s charity World Vision UK, said he was ‘pleased to see that the Chancellor intends to return to our pre-pandemic commitment to Official Development Assistance – albeit not until 2024/25’.
‘Aid spending in developing countries is more critical now than ever before, thanks to the combined devastation of COVID-19 and climate change, and reaffirming this responsibility cements our place as Global Britain,’ he said.
Mr Sunak told MPs: ‘I told the House that when we met our fiscal tests, we would return to spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on overseas aid.
‘Some people said this was a trick or a device. I told this House – it was no such thing. And based on the tests I set out, today’s forecasts show that we are, in fact scheduled to return to 0.7 in 2024/25 – before the end of the Parliament.’
The UK has long been one of the few countries that sticks to the international target of committing 0.7 per cent of national income to aid spending.
But the government cut that level 0.5 per cent in July, equating to a £4 billion decrease.
The Government won a vote on cutting the aid budget from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5 per cent after a stormy debate in the Commons, 333 votes to 298, a majority of just 35.
In the end 24 Tory MPs rebelled, but their number included some big-hitter former ministers including Theresa May, Jeremy Hunt, David Davis and Tobias Ellwood.
Mr Johnson pledged that the rate would return but not until the public finances stabilise from pandemic damage.
The PM pointed out that the UK’s liabilities are around 100 per cent of GDP and the next generation will have to foot the bill for the ‘once in a century catastrophe’ of Covid.
But Mrs May was among the Conservatives declaring they would vote against the government, something she has not done since leaving No10 in 2019.
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