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Chair statement on UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment reduction

25 November 2020

Commenting on the announcement today that the UK’s Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment has been reduced from 0.7% GNI to 0.5% GNI, International Development Committee Chair, Sarah Champion MP, said:

Chair's comments

International Development Committee Chair, Sarah Champion MP, said:

“This is devastating news for the poorest people in the world. For months, numerous ministers have repeatedly confirmed their manifesto commitment to 0.7%. In recent days, we’ve had former Prime Ministers, business groups, aid groups, all warning against such a move saying our global standing will be threatened, not to mention how immoral and short-sighted it is to reduce aid during a global pandemic. Despite all this, the Government have still reneged on their commitment to spend 0.7% of GNI on development.

“The Government needs to quickly clarify the impact of this news on existing projects. What are the criteria for the cuts, will there be impact assessments, will the sector, or parliament, be consulted?

“My Committee has spent much of this year looking at how effective UK aid is. It is very effective; transforming the lives of the poorest and most vulnerable across the world, enhancing our diplomatic influence and fostering peace and prosperity. In 2021, the UK will assume the presidency of the G7 and will host the COP 26 conference on tackling climate change. Cutting the UK’s aid budget at this time sends a contradictory message about how the UK sees its role on the world stage.

“To tackle suffering and injustices ranging from famine to violence, disease to poverty, we must all come together. What does reducing our commitment to humanitarian relief and international development in the middle of a pandemic say about us? Within six months a specialist development Government department has been scrapped, this year’s budget has already been slashed and next year’s too by even more. I think we can wave goodbye to the development superpower status that we have proudly had for so long.”

Future evidence 

The International Development Committee will be holding an evidence session in early-mid December where they will be exploring the implications of reducing the Official Development Assistance (ODA) commitment from 0.7% GNI to 0.5%.

Further information

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