6:30—7:30 AM EDT | 11.30am - 12.30pm BST

The Future of UK Policy on Development: A Conversation with Lord Jeremy Purvis, Lib Dem Spokesperson for International Development


Lord Jeremy Purvis, Lords Spokesperson for International Development, Liberal Democrat


Ian Mitchell, Co-Director for Development Cooperation in Europe and Senior Policy Fellow, CGD

The UK was seen as a leader for its international development policy, but against a backdrop of crises—from COVID-19 to spikes in energy and food prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine—it has stepped back in recent years, with major aid cuts, a reduced focus on the poorest countries, and over a quarter of its aid budget now spent in the UK. Where should UK development policy go from here? 

In this event, Lord Jeremy Purvis reflected on UK development policy and outline the position of the Liberal Democrats, as part of our series with leading voices on international development across the political spectrum in view of the next General Election.

Lord Purvis was clear that under the Liberal Democrats, UK development policy would see an immediate return to providing 0.7% of its Gross National Income as Official Development Assistance, a reversal of the aid cuts, and an independent development department “with an absolute laser focus on the transition to zero poverty and zero carbon”. 

29 percent of UK ODA was used to fund its domestic support for refugees and asylum seekers last year. Lord Purvis also made clear that the Liberal Democrats “very strongly believe that Official Development Assistance should not be spent within the UK.”

On policies beyond aid, Lord Purvis also emphasised the importance of addressing non-tariff barriers to trade; and highlighted the UK’s unmet goal of becoming the top G7 investor in Africa.

With less than 18 months until the next General Election, this is the latest in a series of discussions hosted by CGD with the UK’s political leaders on development, including former Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for International Development, Preet Gill; and International Development Committee Chair, Sarah Champion. The series gathers high-level political figures to share their take on the UK’s role in international development, and aims to broaden the discussion beyond immediate challenges. 

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