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Future of UK Aid: MPs hear from sector leaders on impact of cuts

28 October 2021

Almost a year on from the cut in spending on official development assistance (ODA) from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of Gross National Income (GNI), experts from the UK’s overseas aid sector will give their perspectives.

Purpose of the Session

As part of its ongoing inquiry into the Future of UK Aid, the Committee has invited three witnesses, all of whom have previously given evidence on changes to the UK aid budget, to share how things have changed since the cuts.

Likely subjects of discussion will include what the Chancellor’s recent Spending Review will mean for the future of UK aid, how spending on the aid budget could change, and how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed the nature of spending in this area.

Other topics could include the current priorities for UK aid; following the setting out of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s (FCDO) priorities on aid in December 2020, the IDC remarked on the notable lack of a specific focus on poverty reduction in the priorities set out by former Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

MPs may also explore with witnesses whether the focus of UK aid has shifted to work more closely with other parts of international policy including diplomacy and trade, and the impact on ODA spending of planned increases in International Climate Finance, as well as potential Whitehall plans to classify other government spending that could count as ODA to minimise amounts spent directly on aid.

The contraction of the UK economy as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic led to reduction of £712m in planned UK aid spending for 2020. The reduction of the ODA spending target from 0.7 to 0.5 per cent of GNI in 2021 led to further large cuts in November 2020, a measure which Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said is temporary and is set to be reversed in 2024-25, if economic tests are met.

House of Commons Library figures show total ODA will be reduced from £14.5 billion in 2020 to £10.9 billion in 2021. The FCDO’s annual report reveals the scale of the cuts, with most countries seeing their aid cut by around half in a single year.

Witnesses

Tuesday 2 November 2021

At 2.30pm

  • Romilly Greenhill, UK Director, ONE Campaign
  • Mark Miller, Director of Programme – Development and Public Finance, Overseas Development Institute (ODI)
  • Ian Mitchell, Co-Director of Development Cooperation in Europe and Senior Policy Fellow, Center for Global Development

Further information

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