The Daily Express published an article today claiming that 10,000 people have signed their online petition for the government to reduce the foreign aid budget.
The newspaper claims that this is proof that readers want the government to direct money away from international development and spent on the NHS instead.
Speaking in recent months, the Prime Minister and International Development Secretary Priti Patel have been absolutely clear that the UK is committed to spending 0.7% of gross national income on international development.
This is a legal commitment. So it is factually incorrect to claim that the aid budget can be spent on the NHS.
The article also quoted John O’Connell of the think tank TaxPayers’ Alliance, who called for the government to be clear about where the aid budget is spending.
DFID is committed to transparency and is consistently ranked as a world leader in aid transparency by the International Aid Transparency Initiative (IATI).
The International Development Secretary is now demanding more transparency from other government departments and from the agencies we work with overseas.
Speaking yesterday, a DFID spokesman said: “It’s completely misleading and wrong to suggest this money could be spent on the NHS. The UK has legally committed to spending 0.7 per cent of its gross national income on foreign aid, money which goes towards tackling poverty and saving lives abroad. This money cannot be used in the UK.
"DFID is responsible for 74 per cent of the UK's foreign aid budget. International Development Secretary Priti Patel has called on the other UK government departments, which spend part of the foreign aid budget, to be accountable to UK taxpayers."