Closed petition Abolish the mandatory 0.7% GDP Foreign Aid target and spend our money at home

We believe it is time our Government got its priorities right and abolished the mandatory Foreign Aid budget target.
When we have homeless veterans sleeping on our streets, flooding in our towns and villages, it is wrong to spend over £14bn a year on Foreign Aid

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We call upon the Government to abolish the mandatory 0.7% GDP target and focus its priorities on defence, armed forces, homeless veterans and flood defences.

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Government responded

This response was given on 31 July 2020

By investing less than a penny from each pound of our income in aid, the UK is helping create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world.

It is not a case of choosing between international development and priorities at home - we are doing both. Poverty reduction is at the heart of what we do but UK aid is also tackling global challenges like diseases such as COVID-19, terrorism and conflict to create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world. When we invest in stability, jobs, and good governance, we address the root causes of problems that affect us at home too. Prosperous and stable countries are our trading partners of the future -our aid commitment is a win for those we support and a win for the UK.

Our commitment to invest 0.7 per cent of national income in aid contributes to the UK’s global influence and our reputation as a development superpower. Our aid is a cross-government commitment that draws on the full range of the UK’s skills and expertise. Our world-class diplomacy and leadership in international development, supports millions of the world’s poorest people, at the same time as securing the UK’s place in the world.

We know we must maximise the good we do with the money we have - in the interest of those we are trying to help and with direct positive results for the UK too. Which is why all departments spending UK aid money have strict processes in place to ensure that they are delivering value for money. This includes holding aid organisations to account by linking funding to performance, closing programmes that fail to meet development objectives, and increasing efficiency.

We know UK aid works. To list just a few results achieved between April 2015 and March 2019, DFID has:
- supported 14.3 million children to gain a decent education;
- supported 51.8 million people to access clean water and/or better sanitation.
- supported 3.9 million people to raise their incomes or maintain/gain a better job or livelihood;
- installed 467 Megawatts of clean energy capacity.
- Supported 50.6 million children under 5, women of childbearing age and adolescent girls with nutrition-related interventions

Meanwhile, UK aid is stabilising conflict zones where extremists could otherwise thrive. This benefits both the people living in the conflict zones and the UK. The UK is also leading the way in tackling illicit financial flows which enable global criminal gangs to operate. One UK aid project has supported African law enforcement officials to seize, confiscate or preserve over $76 million of illegal assets in 2017.

Advancing economic development in the world’s poorest countries is also fundamental to the UK’s international leadership. Investing in the growth of companies in Africa and South Asia creates the jobs and economic stability that lead to global security and help end aid dependency. Helping developing countries harness the formidable power of trade means we are not only creating trading partners of the future for UK businesses, but supporting jobs at home too. Building a more prosperous world and supporting our own long-term economic security is firmly in all our interests‎.

UK scientists and cutting-edge technology are also at the forefront of global efforts, from developing new vaccines to wipe out disease to transforming the way we do development. Diagnostic tests for TB developed with UK aid are now being used by the NHS. The UK’s Emergency Medical Team has gained skills in tackling diseases which now benefit their work in the UK. We are using UK aid to its full effect to counter the health, humanitarian and economic risks of COVID-19. We have committed up to £544 million of UK aid to combat COVID-19 and to reinforce the global effort to find a vaccine.

Where the UK considers the international aid rules to be outdated, we have led the way in pushing for reforms at the governing Development Assistance Committee. We have achieved important reforms, including increasing the proportion of aid spending that contributes to peacekeeping missions and reducing restrictions to support countries affected by crises and natural disasters. We continue to challenge other nations to deliver on their commitments for a better and safer world.

The decision to merge the Department for International Development and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to create a new international department, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, will ensure our development and foreign policy are aligned and that decisions on development spending are taken in a way that takes into account a coherent and unified set of priorities for our international policy. Our commitment to spending 0.7 percent of our national income on aid is enshrined in law and we will continue to be guided by our responsibilities under the International Development Act, including a commitment to poverty reduction. It is right in itself and it serves the national interest.

Department for International Development