Tories could 'temporarily cut foreign aid' to help pay for coronavirus bills
The New European
- Credit: PA
The foreign aid budget could reportedly be cut temporarily after the UK’s public finances took a hit dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, despite foreign secretary Dominic Raab insisting the government was “absolutely” committed to the 0.7% target.
The Times reported plans had been drawn up to pare back the commitment to spend at least 0.7% of national income on foreign aid to 0.5%, and the move could be announced in the chancellor’s comprehensive spending review next week.
A Treasury official did not deny the report but declined to comment on speculation about fiscal events.
The UK has already said it would be cutting its global aid budget by £2.9 billion this year due to the economic hit of the coronavirus crisis, but that the 0.7% commitment towards international development would still be met.
The spending on Official Development Assistance was set to be £15.8 billion this year before the Covid-19 crisis emerged.
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Boris Johnson wants the cut to last no longer than a year, the Times reported.
The gross national income of the UK in 2019 was £2.17 trillion, meaning a drop from 0.7% to 0.5% would account for more than £4 billion.
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The 0.7% target was first agreed by the United Nations in 1970, and the UK Government has met the target since 2013. It was enshrined into law in 2015.
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