Budget 2021: Aid Spending To Return To 0.7% - But Not Until 2024/25

The Labour Party is expected to point out that reinstating aid in 2024 effectively confirms the cut for another year.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak p
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak p
DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS via Getty Images

Rishi Sunak has announced that UK aid spending is expected to return to 0.7 per cent of national income by 2024/25.

The government cut spending on foreign aid during the pandemic, angering MPs including many Conservatives.

It was reduced to 0.5 per cent of national income - despite 0.7 being a commitment in the 2019 Conservative manifesto.

Unveiling his budget on Wednesday, the chancellor said: “As well as helping people at home, our improving fiscal position means we will meet our obligations to the world’s poorest.

“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.”

When they announced the cut, the government said the reduction would be “temporary” and reversed only when certain conditions are met.

The Labour Party is expected to point out that reinstating aid in 2024 effectively confirms the cut for another year.

Richard Blewitt, from the British Red Cross, said they welcomed the projection but added: “In the meantime, UK aid remains a critical lifeline for millions of people in need of urgent assistance, with humanitarian needs soaring, due to a mixture of covid, climate and conflict.

“We call on the government to ensure aid continues to be allocated on the basis of need. UK aid needs to be prioritised for the most vulnerable communities in the world where suffering is reaching unprecedented levels.”