The Autumn Statement and UK aid

The UK maintains its commitment to reach 0.7% of gross national income (GNI) in 2013, up from 0.56% in 2012, and extends this commitment to 2015/16.

In his 5 December Autumn Statement, Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne MP confirmed the government would meet the UK’s long-standing commitment to reach 0.7% of UK overseas development assistance (ODA) as a share of GNI in 2013.

Slow growth leads to less UK aid than previously budgeted

UK aid looks set to rise by £2.6 billion in 2013, from 0.56% to 0.7% of GNI, though amid slower growth this means £350 million less aid next year than estimated in March.

The Chancellor also announced a spending review in the first half of 2013 – an important process for future UK ODA spend and allocation among departments.

Aid in a difficult global economic and political context

Like the UK, other donors are facing similar fiscal pressures amid poor growth prospects.

Economic forecasts are currently particularly uncertain. Maintaining aid at 0.7% of forecast GNI in such circumstances could mean particular uncertainty for UK aid programmes.  This also underscores the importance of global economic stability for development and the need to avoid the worst case scenarios.

While 0.7% was originally conceived as a minimum commitment to the poor, rather than a limit.  Few donors have consistently allocated more than 0.7% of national income to aid. The UK is continuing to show leadership among the G8 ahead of its 2013 presidency.