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Where next for UK aid? (Institute for Fiscal Studies)
October 12, 2018
By Arthur Baker, Sam Crossman, Ian Mitchell, Yani Tyskerud, and Ross Warwick
From the article:
In a speech on Tuesday 9th October, the Secretary of State for International Development, Penny Mordaunt, touched upon a number of important issues taking centre stage in current debates on UK aid spending, including Brexit and the role of private sector investment. These two substantive issues are interesting within the context of broader developments in UK aid spending in recent years. A new report by researchers from the IFS and the Center for Global Development (CGD) analyses how UK aid is spent and the potential drivers of these changes.
Five years of meeting the aid target
Since 2013, the UK has met its target to spend at least 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) on official development assistance (ODA) (see Figure). The target was enshrined into UK law in 2015and there is currently a cross-party political consensus to maintain it.
Meeting this target sets the UK apart in an international context. While all thirty members of the OECD’s Development Assistance Committee (DAC), except the US and Switzerland, have endorsed the 0.7% commitment, only five – the UK, Denmark, Luxembourg, Norway, and Sweden – actually met it in 2017. That the UK is one of the few countries to meet the target is particularly notable in the context of the recent period of austerity. Even so, ODA spending remains a relatively small part of government spending, accounting for 1.7% of the total in 2017, though it has grown quickly and is nearly double the 2008 figure of 0.9%.