Vital support will have to be cut
Plans to “surrender” the UK’s international development role has been criticised by charities.
It comes as the Cabinet Office published the Integrated Review which detailed the government’s strategy on defence, foreign policy and development work until 2030.
This confirmed that spending on international aid would drop from 0.7% of gross national income to 0.5%, removing billions of pounds from the development sector.
Aid spending will be reduced next year to around £10bn when before it was £15bn.
Kevin Watkins, chief executive of Save the Children UK, said: “The government claims the UK will be a ‘world leader on international development’.
“Yet before the Integrated review was even concluded it had closed the Department for International Development and abandoned the 0.7% aid commitment. These are not the actions of a ‘world leader on international development’. “Sadly, the prime minister’s statement provides further confirmation of the government's intent to surrender the UK’s position as a development superpower.”
Stephanie Draper, chief executive of Bond, the umbrella body for international development bodies, said it went against what the sector had worked for.
“The review should have been an opportunity to understand how many destabilising factors come together, but some of the most foundational elements of a stable global society are poorly addressed – such as poverty and hunger.
“Instead, the review looks set to align UK aid with our future trading and security partners.”
The UK government maintains the stance it is still one of the largest providers of overseas aid.
Danny Sriskandarajah, chief executive of Oxfam GB, said: “The goals of promoting human rights, equality and fairness set out in the review are admirable.
“But pouring billions into military hardware while cutting food, medicines and clean water for people on the brink of famine is about as unfair and unequal as it is possible to imagine.
“I urge the prime minister to think again, do the right thing and reverse the aid cuts. British leadership in the fight against global poverty is in the national interest, it increases our international standing and is the right thing to do.”