Papers have today reacted to the latest statistics on international development, published yesterday, which show the aid budget grew to nearly £14 billion in 2017 – because of the UK’s economic success.
The Daily Mail and The Sun have suggested that the UK aid budget has ‘soared’.
But the reality is our aid budget only increased in 2017 because the UK’s economy grew over the year.
The aid budget rises in line with our Gross National Income (GNI). Yesterday’s statistics show the UK met its legally binding aid commitment – no more, no less.
Our aid commitment - which is enshrined in law - increases Britain’s global influence and allows us to shape the world around us. This is firmly in the UK’s national interest. We are also driving value for money to ensure aid cannot be better spent.
These newspaper articles also suggest funding is needed for domestic issues like potholes and the NHS.
But investing less than one percent of our national income in aid is helping us tackle global challenges like disease, terrorism and conflict, and creating a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for us all, including here in the UK.
2017 was an unprecedented year for catastrophic crises and UK aid saved millions of vulnerable people suffering from severe drought and starvation in Somalia, famine in South Sudan, violence in Burma and ongoing conflict in Yemen.
Both The Daily Mail and The Sun also refer to the continuing support the UK gives to India.
The Sun say this is “despite ministers vowing in 2015 to stop sending cash to the wealthy country”. This is not the case.
DFID ended traditional aid to India in 2015. The UK now provides the country with world-leading expertise and private investment which boost prosperity, create jobs and open up markets, while generating a return for the UK at the same time. This is firmly in our interests.