International Development Committee reveals real world impact of cuts to UK aid
2 August 2023
The International Development Committee is today publishing the FCDO Equality Impact Assessment provided to Ministers earlier this year to inform their decisions on where significant cuts to the Official Development Assistance budget for 2023-24 would fall.
- Correspondence from the Minister for Development and Africa regarding ODA programme allocations for 2023-24-2024-25 and Equality Impact Assessments
The Chair of the International Development Committee, Sarah Champion MP, said:
“Evidence submitted to the Committee over the last few years told us the cuts to UK ODA would take a human toll. But this astonishingly honest assessment of the real impact makes grim reading. It is a litany of the people - living in poverty, suffering hunger, women, girls, disabled people – who will no longer be supported by the UK’s direct aid spending, and the consequences they will face.
“By the FCDO’s own assessment, critical support to tackle malnutrition will not be delivered. Programmes aimed at reaching those furthest behind – including women, girls and people with disabilities – will be cut. Hundreds of thousands more women once again face unsafe abortions, thousands will die in pregnancy and childbirth.
“There will be a further political hit to the UK’s leadership on global and regional programmes. These must have been intolerable decisions for officials to make, and it is hard to see how the terrible impact set out here sits with FCDO’s recently restated commitment to ‘persuade more of our fellow citizens that international development is core to our own national interest as well as the right thing to do’.
“It is crucial that promised uplifts in the planned allocations for 2024/25 go to the people with protected characteristics who, by FCDO’s own assessment, have borne the brunt of these cuts.”
The FCDO’s bilateral country allocations for the 2023/24 financial year were subject to ‘ODA savings’ as a result of the decision to reduce the UK’s ODA spending from 0.7% to 0.5% of Gross National Income. The Equality Impact Assessment sets out what this means in reality for some of the poorest countries in the world, experiencing the worst humanitarian crises: Yemen saw its UK ODA allocation cut by 45%; Afghanistan by an incredible 76%. The FCDO sought to mitigate these cuts but was only able to offer limited additional support. For Afghanistan, this still resulted in a 59% cut.
Equality Impact Assessments are not required to be produced and are not usually made public. Last year the Government refused to produce this information voluntarily. Instead, the Committee obtained and published an Equality Impact Assessment that highlighted the likely impact of significant cuts to disability-inclusive aid programmes. The Assessment published today was conducted by the FCDO to assess the overall potential impact of ongoing reductions to the ODA budget on people with protected characteristics and was provided to the Committee to publish.