Aid: International development hit with £1bn cut

Charities expressed dismay last night after planned overseas aid spending was cut by more than £1bn due to the weakness of the economy.

The Government has promised to raise international development budgets to 0.7 per cent of national income by 2013 despite the austerity measures facing Britain. George Osborne repeated the pledge yesterday, but announced that the projected aid budget was being scaled back because spending would otherwise exceed 0.7 per cent.

"That I don't think can be justified and so we are adjusting those plans, so we don't overshoot the target," he told MPs. The effect of the move will be that the Department for International Development will spend £8.2bn in 2012-13 instead of £8.6bn, £10.8bn in 2013-14 instead of £11bn and £10.6bn in 2014-15 instead of £11.1bn. The resulting saving will be £1.1bn over three years.

Mr Osborne's move has been made possible because gloomy forecasts for gross national income means he needs to commit less money to aid to meet the 0.7 per cent target.

Andrew Mitchell, the International Development Secretary, pointed out that Britain would still become the first country in the G20 group of industrialised nations to achieve the target. But one Whitehall source conceded: "The department won't now be able to do everything that it hoped."

Last night charities challenged the Chancellor to promise that aid spending would increase when Britain's economic health improved. Adrian Lovett, Europe Director of anti-poverty campaign ONE, said: "We are obviously disappointed at the reduction in the scale of the aid increase, which is a painful side effect of Britain's economic performance. This Government made a pledge not to balance the books on the backs of the poor."

Claire Godfrey, Oxfam's senior policy adviser, said: "We are disappointed that lower-than-expected UK growth means the world's poorest people will get less help, especially as they are already suffering in an economic crisis they did nothing to cause."

Before the general election, all three major parties committed themselves to the 0.7 per cent target and the pledge was included in last year's coalition agreement, as well as a promise to enshrine it in law. Since then it has faced criticism from some Conservatives, notably the former Defence Secretary, Liam Fox, who protested in a leaked letter the moves would remove ministers' flexibility to spend more money on "activities and programmes rather than aid".

David Cameron has repeatedly defended the commitment, telling last month's Tory conference: "I really believe, despite all our difficulties, that this is the right thing to do." He said it was a "mark of our country, and our people, that we never turn our backs on the world's poorest".

Case study: 'The issue is not a lack of skills'

Sayyida Mehrali, 21, from Birmingham, graduated in neuroscience from UCL in June but is now unemployed.

"I have been looking for work since graduating six months ago. The problem I have found is my degree is so specific.

"I want to go into science communications, but a lot of employers want journalistic experience, which I don't have and is hard to come by.

"I think George Osborne has made a lot of promises and he's going to have a hard time living up to them. He said it's not a lack of jobs, it's a lack of skills, which I totally disagree with. I know a lot of people in my position who have the skills and not the jobs."

Suggested Topics
News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballGunners confirm signing from Manchester United
Sport
footballStriker has moved on loan for the remainder of the season
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
Katie Hopkins appearing on 'This Morning' after she purposefully put on 4 stone.
peopleKatie Hopkins breaks down in tears over weight gain challenge
News
Ricky Gervais performs stand-up
people
Arts and Entertainment
Olivia Colman topped the list of the 30 most influential females in broadcasting
tv
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Arts and Entertainment
Hare’s a riddle: Kit Williams with the treasure linked to Masquerade
booksRiddling trilogy could net you $3m
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
booksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Year 5 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Year 6 Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking KS...

Automation Test Lead (C#, Selenium, SQL, XML, Web-Services)

£50000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: Automation Tes...

Business Anaylst

£60000 - £75000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: Business Anal...

Day In a Page

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes': US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food served at diplomatic dinners

'I’ll tell you what I would not serve - lamb and potatoes'

US ambassador hits out at stodgy British food
Radio Times female powerlist: A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

A 'revolution' in TV gender roles

Inside the Radio Times female powerlist
Endgame: James Frey's literary treasure hunt

James Frey's literary treasure hunt

Riddling trilogy could net you $3m
Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

Fitbit: Because the tingle feels so good

What David Sedaris learnt about the world from his fitness tracker
Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Saudis risk new Muslim division with proposal to move Mohamed’s tomb

Second-holiest site in Islam attracts millions of pilgrims each year
Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering