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8 February 2023 - Aid spending in the UK - Oral evidence

Committee International Development Committee
Inquiry Aid spending in the UK

Wednesday 8 February 2023

Start times: 2:00pm (private) 2:30pm (public)


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Ministers from the Foreign Office, Home Office and Treasury are to give evidence before the International Development Committee to explain the rationale behind Government spending of the foreign aid budget on refugees in the UK.

Close to £1 in every £10 of the foreign aid budget was spent on support for refugees and asylum seekers in the UK in 2021. The latest Statistics on International Development (released in November 2022 for the year of 2021) revealed that the UK spent 9.2 per cent of its aid budget at home. This was primarily driven by the Home Office, which spent more than a billion in Official Development Assistance (ODA), an increase of £444m or 74.3 per cent, from 2020. It was the largest spend of any single sector in the UK’s final aid spend.

 

Meeting details

At 2:30pm: Oral evidence
Inquiry Aid spending in the UK
Minister of State (Development and Africa) at Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office
Minister for Immigration at Home Office
Chief Secretary to the Treasury at HM Treasury

The Government has said the increase was partly due to increased accommodation costs for the rising number of asylum seekers coming to the UK. In the twelve months following the arrival of asylum seekers or refugees, aid-donor countries can count the costs of assistance as ODA. Legitimate costs include accommodation, subsistence, health and education.

This is not against the rules agreed by the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee, which are agreed by the donor countries, but it is controversial. Many feel the primary objective of ODA is to promote the economic development and welfare of developing countries.

The International Development Committee is responsible for the scrutiny of UK aid spending and Official Development Assistance (ODA) by all Government departments. In the context of the UK Government’s reduction of international aid funding from 0.7 to 0.5 percent of Gross National Income, the Committee’s inquiry asks whether this is an efficient, effective and ethical way to spend the UK’s foreign aid budget.

Location

The Grimond Room, Portcullis House

How to attend