United Kingdom

At a glance

Funding trends

  • The United Kingdom (UK) is the fourth-largest donor country in absolute terms, spending $15.8 billion (current prices) on official development assistance (ODA) in 2021 according to data from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
  • The UK is the ninth-largest donor when considering ODA as a proportion of gross national income (GNI). ODA volumes fell by 21% from US$19.4 billion in 2020 to US$14.6 billion in 2021 (2020 constant prices) as the UK government decided to temporarily provide ODA equivalent to only 0.5% of GNI (down from the legally enshrined 0.7%) because of the negative economic impacts of COVID-19.
  • The reduction to 0.5% ODA/GNI will be maintained until two fiscal tests are met: 1) no government borrowing for day-to-day spending according to the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR), and 2) a falling ratio of underlying government debt to GDP. The former Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, committed to making a decision in the Autumn 2022 budget as to whether the fiscal tests would be met and UK ODA can return to 0.7% ODA/GNI.
  • In 2021, the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) spent just over £8.3 billion (US$10.6 billion) on ODA, or 72% of total ODA, a decrease of £2.4 billion (US$3.1 billion) from 2020. Other government departments contributed £2.8 billion (US$3.6 billion) in ODA (24%), up by £22 million (US$28 million) from 2020, while ‘other contributors’ supplied £410 million (US$526 million) in ODA (4%), down £648 million (US$831 million) from 2020.

Strategic priorities

  • The government has suspended “non-essential” assistance spending in the wake of former Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s resignation. The suspension will remain until a new prime minister is in place following a September 5, 2022 run-off. This hold on “non-essential” assistance spending has been attributed to rising Home Office costs for refugees and a fear the UK is set to breach the 0.5% ODA/GNI cap.
  • Liz Truss, the current Foreign Secretary for the FCDO and Minister for Women and Equalities is currently up against Rishi Sunak, former Chancellor of the Exchequer, to succeed Boris Johnson as Prime Minister. The decision will be made on September 5, 2022, by the conservative Tory party, currently holding an internal vote.
  • The new international development strategy was published by the UK government on May 16, 2022. It was developed in response to a changing geopolitical environment with “new threats to freedom, democracy, and self-determination,” and calls for ODA to focus on “unleashing the power of people and countries to take control of their own future.”
  • The four key focus areas are: 1) Supporting economic development through ‘British Investment Partnerships;’ 2) Providing women and girls with the freedom they need to succeed; 3) Delivering humanitarian leadership; and 4) Tackling issues related to climate change, nature, and global health. One of the biggest shifts regarding the previous strategy is the strong emphasis on trade and economic development, a greater emphasis on bilateral investments instead of multilateral approaches, and a shift in spending in the Indo-Pacific region.
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Outlook

The resignation of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in July 2022, and the following run-off between Liz Truss and Rishi Sunak has led to uncertainty about the future direction of the FCDO and ODA spending more broadly. Under the leadership of Truss, the Foreign Secretary for the FCDO and Minister for Women and Equalities, the focus on women and girls, including girls’ education, was expected to remain a high priority. The new international development strategy released under her tenure as FCDO secretary also signals an emphasis on aligning development aims with trade and economic policy, which could come at the expense of addressing other development needs. Meanwhile, Sunak has been accused, by those in the development sector, of imposing further reductions on an already reduced ODA budget by counting debt relief and vaccine donations as ODA.

Under the new development strategy, the UK government sets out a clear vision for its development cooperation with partners in Europe, which is centered around supporting European Security, but its development relationship with EU institutions remains less clear. The UK officially left the European Union in January 2020 and finalized its formal transition period in January 2021. In 2021, the UK’s share of the EU ODA budget was £824 million (US$1.1 billion), down from £1.1 billion (US$1.4 billion) in 2020. The FCDO will continue to contribute to EU development programs approved before December 31, 2020, until FY2029/30, as determined in the ‘Withdrawal Agreement.’ Additionally, development cooperation, along with foreign policy and external defense policy, was not covered by the EU-UK Trade Agreement set in December 2020 and there remain no formal arrangements on development cooperation.

Policy Priorities

The new international development strategy increases alignment between the UK’s development strategy and foreign policy objectives

In May 2022, the UK government published a new international development strategy, the first since the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Department for International Development (DFID) merged to create the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in 2020. The new strategy furthers the aims of the March 2021 Integrated Review (which outlines the government’s vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade) by clearly stating the ways in which the UK’s development policy will be more integrated with its foreign, defense, and security efforts in the coming years, with a particular emphasis on trade and economic development as a cornerstone of the strategy. The strategy’s four key focus areas are:

  1. Supporting economic development through 'British Investment Partnerships’: This pillar is a top priority for the UK government moving forward, given the amount of detail described in this part of the strategy. Partnerships are aimed at delivering honest and reliable investments to partner countries and the strategy commits the UK to mobilize £8 billion (US$10.3 billion) a year by 2025 in UK-backed financing for low-income countries both from the private sector and beyond. The partnerships include a strong focus on sustainable infrastructure and trade mobilization. They will leverage UK expertise through the establishment of new centers of knowledge to help partner governments deliver sustainable economic growth in high-potential sectors like manufacturing, agriculture, and technology;
  2. ‘Providing women and girls with the freedom they need to succeed’: The strategy elevates tackling gender equality as a core priority for UK ODA moving forward. The strategy focuses on three key areas: 1) education, 2) empowerment (including a commitment to addressing sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and supporting women’s economic empowerment (WEE)), and 3) ending violence. The strategy re-instates Truss’s commitment to restore UK funding to gender equality and commits the UK to publish a new UK ‘Women and Girls Strategy’ by 2022;
  3. Delivering humanitarian leadership: The strategy commits the UK to provide £3 billion (US$3.9 billion) in humanitarian assistance over the next 3 years and to use its diplomatic strengths to continue to reform the international system to be more proactive in anticipating and managing future humanitarian crises; and
  4. Tackling issues tied to climate change, nature, and global health: The strategy reiterates the UK’s commitment to double its contribution to International Climate Finance (ICF) to at least £11.6 billion (US$14.9 billion) between 2021-2026 and commits to ensuring that this funding is equally split between mitigation and adaptation finance. ICF is a specific UK government investment to support developing countries in responding to the challenges and opportunities of climate change. The strategy also commits the UK to ensuring all new bilateral ODA is aligned with the Paris Agreement. For global health, the strategy focuses on supporting the COVID-19 response and preparing for the next pandemic, strengthening health systems, integrating the ‘One Health’ approach, ending preventable deaths of mothers, babies, and children; and improving research and development (R&D). Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (Global Fund) are specifically mentioned in the text as important partners moving forward.

In terms of regional focus, the strategy also notes a greater slant toward building critical development partnerships in the Indo-Pacific, and an increase in development assistance to Europe in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In general, the strategy lays out how the UK will leverage its strengths in advancing R&D, finance, and rule of law among other assets, while also renewing focus on gender equality, climate, health, and humanitarian assistance.

The new development strategy additionally highlights the need for shared security goals and increased development partnerships and investments between the UK and the EU. The strategy mentions the development of “architecture that will underpin future European security” and the need to “build those economic and social freedoms which will underpin lasting resilience of societies and economies,” emphasizing economic and social stability as the core of long-term regional assistance. Looking further afield, the current government continues to seek shared development approaches with the EU on immigration and humanitarian assistance.

ODA Breakdown

UK slightly increases contributions to multilaterals but remains below DAC average

The UK provided US$7.1 billion or 36% of its total ODA as core contribution to multilaterals in 2020, up from US$6.7 billion or 32% in 2019. This is below the DAC average of 42%. The UK channeled US$3.4 billion or 18% of its total ODA as earmarked funding through multilateral organizations, meaning funding designated for a specific sector or region, slightly above the DAC average of 14%. The remaining (US$9 billion) 46% was spent bilaterally, in line with the DAC average of 44%.

The largest recipients of the UK’s core contributions to multilaterals in 2020 were the EU institutions (US$1.9 billion or 27%), the World Bank (US$1.3 billion or 18%), the IMF (US$1.1 billion or 15%), UN organizations (US$747 million or 11%), and regional development banks (US$305 million or 4%). Of the US$9 billion spent bilaterally, the UK channels US$1 billion or 8% of ODA through private sector institutions, above the DAC average of 4%. The large share of funding through private sector institutions reflects, in part, the UK’s reliance on private sector contractors and consultants to carry out project implementation.

In addition, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society organizations (CSOs) implemented US$2.1 billion or 17% of the UK’s bilateral programs in 2020, in line with the DAC average of 19%. CSOs in the UK play a strong role in implementing development funding and shaping the UK’s development agenda. Disbursements to CSOs are framed by the Civil Society Partnership Review which outlines a competitive and results-focused civil society organization funding model.

Health & populations and humanitarian assistance are the biggest UK bilateral ODA sectors

Reflecting its strategic priorities, the UK focuses a significant share of its bilateral ODA on humanitarian assistance and global health, and increasingly, toward in-donor refugee costs in the wake of compounding global crises. ‘Health & populations’ was the largest sector of bilateral funding in 2020, accounting for 17% or US$2.1 billion, a 3% increase from the US$2 billion provided in 2019. ‘Humanitarian aid’ was the second-largest sector of bilateral UK support in 2020, accounting for US$2 billion or 16% of ODA, down from US$2.1 billion in 2019.

The related sector of ‘conflict, peace, and security’ accounted for an additional US$421 million, or 3%, of bilateral ODA, down from US$578 million in 2019. ‘Refugees in donor countries’ saw a large jump in funding (24%) from US$648 million in 2019 to US$805 million in 2020. Other large sectors in 2020 included ‘other multisector activities’ (US$1.1 billion, or 9%), ‘donor administration costs’ (US$1 billion, or 8%), and ‘government and civil society’ (US$924 million, or 7%).

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Bilateral ODA focuses on the poorest countries and Africa, MENA, and Asia

According to OECD data, the largest share (23%) of bilateral ODA in 2020 went to ‘sub-Saharan Africa’ (SSA; meaning the regions of Eastern, Western, Central, and Southern Africa, as designated by the African Union); this is relatively close to the DAC average of 24%. Cooperation with Africa is a strategic objective of the UK, and future ODA flows are expected to focus on supporting prosperity and enhancing security. Asia received the second-largest share (12%), also near the DAC average of 13%.

The top country recipients of UK ODA in 2020 were Ethiopia (US$326 million), Nigeria (US$309 million), Somalia (US$298 million), Afghanistan (US$291 million), Yemen (US$284 million), and Pakistan (US$262 million). Due to their strategic importance to the UK as noted in the new ‘Strategy for International Development,’ Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Yemen are likely to remain high on the list of recipients.

The May 2022 international development strategy reiterates similar regional and country-level priorities, with an increased focus on the African continent and the Indo-Pacific. Beyond priority countries noted in the ‘Integrated Review,’ the new strategy mentions the UK-India and UK-Indonesia Roadmaps, which outline comprehensive, strategic bilateral partnerships with the two countries through 2030. In addition, the ‘2030 Small Island Developing States’ (SIDS) strategy works to advance qualifying nations to be economically sustainable and climate resilient.

In April 2022, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) ‘Provisional UK Aid Spend 2021’ revealed that the FCDO’s regional bilateral ODA spending for 2021 was £2.6 billion (US$3.3 billion). This represents a 54% cut from the £4 billion (US$5.1 billion) dedicated to the FCDO’s regional bilateral program outturn in 2020. In 2021, countries in Africa received £1.4 billion (US$1.8 billion) of FCDO bilateral ODA, a £864 million (US$1.1 billion) decrease from 2020, and countries in Asia received £1.1 billion (US$1.4 billion) of FCDO bilateral ODA, a decrease of £506 million (US$649 million) from 2020. As total UK ODA to Europe, Americas, and the Pacific is lower than that of Africa and Asia, their drops in ODA are on a smaller scale, but each region saw decreases from 2020 to 2021.

The other major bilateral inclusion within the May 2022 strategy is Ukraine. The strategy notes that “the centrality of a secure and resilient Europe to our national interests – as the foundation for our global role – is today more evident than for a generation.” To this end, the UK has donated £3.8 billion (US$ 4.9 billion) in military and economic support to Ukraine, as of June 30, 2022. With the conflict ongoing, it is likely that support to Ukraine will increase.

Unless otherwise indicated, all data in this section is based on the cash-flow basis measurement system. For more information, see our Donor Tracker Codebook.

For more granular and up-to-date development finance data on the UK, including information on where and in which sectors it is spending both ODA and non-ODA funds, please consult the IATI d-portal. IATI is a reporting standard and platform on which organizations and governments voluntarily publish data on their development cooperation.

Main Actors

The FCDO leads on strategy setting and funding decisions relating to development assistance

The UK Conservative Party leads a majority government, but is currently without a Prime Minster, as former Prime Minister Boris Johnson stepped down on July 7, 2022, under a series of cabinet resignations and a vote of no-confidence from his party. The run-off vote for a new party leader and Prime Minister will take place on September 5, 2022, and is currently taking place between the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Liz Truss and former Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. The two candidates are vying to become Prime Minister; whoever wins the run-off will be able to exercise significant influence over development policy, for example through making funding commitments for international initiatives. All large funding announcements must be approved by the Prime Minister’s Office; however, in practice, the Prime Minister’s degree of involvement varies.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), created through a merger of the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), was established in September 2020. It leads on strategy setting and funding decisions on the UK’s development policy and is led by UK Foreign Secretary Liz Truss who represents both foreign affairs and development within the UK Cabinet. Liz Truss retains her role as Minister for Women and Equalities. Lis Truss was the Secretary of State for Trade from 2019 - 2021.

Due to the merger, at the recipient country level, all former DFID staff now report to the UK Ambassadors who lead all UK foreign and development work in-country. The May 2022 international development strategy commits to giving UK Ambassadors and High Commissioners greater control over decision-making and speeding up UK program delivery time.

UK country programming is based on the budget given to FCDO by the Treasury through the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) process. The CSR for 2021 has set FCDO’s budget for FY2021/22 for the next three years. Following the CSR, the government departments normally set out high-level priorities based on this budget in a multi-year business plan referred to as the Outcome Delivery Plan. The FCDO is currently using its FCDO Outcome Delivery Plan for 2021 and 2022. The FCDO’s Embassies will then develop Operational Plans (OPs) to guide bilateral cooperation within each partner country based on the priorities of the Outcome Delivery Plan.

Other government departments: Since 2015, the Conservative-led government has sought to allocate a greater proportion of ODA through other ministerial departments and cross-government funds. The FCDO was responsible for 72% of ODA in 2020 according to UK government provisional ODA statistics ; the Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), which largely funds climate-related projects and is now led by Kwasi Kwarteng, was responsible for 8%; the Conflict, Stability and Security Fund (CSSF) was responsible for 4%; the Department for Health and Social Care, 2%, and the Home Office, 8%.

Cross-government oversight: The FCDO is responsible for the oversight of all ODA, even that which goes through other government departments in a drive to improve coordination. The FCDO will assess all programs on alignment with the UK's strategic objectives, value for money, and impact. Respective government departments remain responsible for managing the programs meeting the ODA definition and delivering impact. The former DFID was not responsible for the oversight of all cross-governmental ODA allocations.

Parliament: The UK Parliament is composed of the House of Commons and the House of Lords. Within the House of Commons, ‘select committees’ review the work of ministerial departments. The International Development Committee is the select committee responsible for scrutinizing the UK’s ODA policies and expenditures and monitoring organizations receiving UK ODA funding. It has not been merged into the International Foreign Affairs Committee after the creation of the FCDO and remains a separate committee.

The UK has an ‘Independent Commission for Aid Impact’ (ICAI), which sits outside of government but reports to the International Development Committee. The ICAI conducts in-depth reviews of the governance, policy, and financing of the UK’s development assistance. After the merger of DFID and FCO, the UK government reviewed ICAI and has called for an expansion of ICAI’s role so that it can provide advice and evidence to Ministers beyond evaluation. ICAI also supports the work of the UK’s International Development Committee.

All-Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs) are also influential in UK policymaking, bringing together members of Parliament, the private sector, and civil society organizations (CSOs) on key policy issues including international development (e.g., the APPG on the UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development, the APPG on Global Health, etc.,).

Civil society: CSOs in the UK play a strong role in implementing development funding and shaping the agenda. They frequently engage with the government through formal and informal consultation processes. Bond, the UK’s membership body for development CSOs, has more than 400 member organizations and has been key in maintaining the UK’s strong commitment to development. The FCDO directly funds these organizations, both through its country offices and at headquarters.

UK Org Chart

Budget Structure

FCDO is responsible for three-quarters of the UK’s ODA

According to the UK government, the FCDO provided 72% of total UK ODA in 2021 , down from the 78% managed by the former DFID and FCO in 2016. This is part of a deliberate effort to promote cross-government allocation of ODA which presents increasing avenues to shape UK development efforts through engagement with actors outside of the FCDO. Most direct intergovernmental engagement for the FCDO is with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS; responsible for some of the UK’s ODA related funding for climate change and R&D) and the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC; which manage some ODA funding for anti-microbial resistance surveillance, research into vaccines for diseases with epidemic potential, and health research for low- and middle-income countries).

BEIS was the largest non-FCDO provider of ODA in 2021, accounting for 8% of all funding, followed by the Home Office (8%), the cross-departmental ‘Conflict, Stability and Security Fund’ (CSSF; 4%), and DHSC (2%).

According to the October 2021 Spending Review by Her Majesty’s (HM) Treasury, the ODA budget for FY2022/23 is forecast at £11.4 billion (US$14.6 billion). Most of this budget (£9.3 billion , or US$11.9 billion) is allocated to FCDO and an additional £2.1 billion (US$2.7 billion) to other government departments. While the October 2021 Spending Review provides an outlook for overall UK ODA flows for FY2022/23, a breakdown of allocation by department or sector has not been set for FY2022/23. The April 2022 Provisional UK Aid Spend 2021 Report provides provisional statistics about the amount of ODA the UK provided in 2021 and has a clear breakdown by department (see Table 1), with a further breakdown of projected FY2021/22 FCDO department allocations as published in an April 2021 written ministerial statement (see Table 2).

Table 1: UK ODA contributors by department in FY2021, as reported in April 2022

millions
£

millions
US$

Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office 8,308 10,655
Department of Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy 929 1,191
Conflict, Stability and Security Fund 430 551
Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport 7 9
Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs 76 97
Department of Health and Social Care 223 286
Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs 3 4
Her Majesty's Treasury 2 3
Home Office 915 1,174
Cabinet Office 108 139
Cross-Government Prosperity Fund 53 68
Department for Education 18 23
Department for Work and Pensions 9 12
Ministry of Defence 5 6
Office for National Statistics 2 3
Other Contributors 410 526
Total 11,496 14,744

In comparing FCDO’s program outturn from FY2020/21 to FY2021/22, Global Funds Department program funding fell by 11% from US$1.3 billion in FY2020/21 to US$1.2 billion in FY2021/22. This is a small cut compared to other FCDO budget lines and is also higher than the anticipated budget for the department, which was projected to be £875 million (US$1.1 billion). Larger percentage cuts were made to the ‘Education, Gender and Equality;’ ‘Energy, Climate and Environment;’ ‘Humanitarian;’ and ‘International Finance’ programs. Meanwhile, the ‘Health’ and ‘Economic Cooperation and Growth’ programs expanded. ‘Health’ grew from US$1.49 billion in FY2020/21 to US$1.54 billion in FY2021/22, thanks to the inclusion of the Health Directorate Central and Vaccines, Therapeutics and Diagnostics budget lines under the ‘Health’ umbrella. The ‘Economic Cooperation and Growth’ program grew almost five-fold from US$78 million in FY2020/21 to US$431 million in FY2021/22.

 

Table 2: FCDO program outturn comparisons 2020-21, 2021-22*

 

 

Thematic Spending Headings 2020-21 FCDO Program Outturn (US$ million) Thematic Spending Headings 2021-22 FCDO Program Outturn (US$ million)
Health 1,486 Health 1,539
Global Funds Department 1,309 Global Funds Department 1,162
Human Development Department 177 Human Development Department 112
    Health Directorate Central 8
    Vaccines, Therapeutics & Diagnostics 257
Education, Gender
& Equality
395 Education, Gender
& Equality
230
Children, Youth & Education Department 262 Girls' Education Department 171
    Gender & Equalities Department 32
    Scholarships, Tertiary Education & Partnerships 27
Inclusive Societies Department 133    
Climate and Environment 425 Energy, Climate & Environment 259
Climate, Environment & Natural Resources Department 101 Climate, Environment & Natural Resources Department 126
International Climate Change & Green Growth Department 323 International Climate Change & Green Growth Department 132
Europe 1,395 Europe Department 1,440
EU Attribution 669 EU Attribution 877
Europe Department 726 Europe Department 562
Humanitarian 702 Humanitarian 335
Conflict, Humanitarian & Security Department 612 Conflict, Humanitarian & Security Department 335
Conflict, Security & Migration Department 88    
International Finance 3,291 International Finance 1,866
Private Sector Department 1,041 Private Sector Department 831
Public Finance and Tax Department 17 Public Finance and Tax Department 37
International Financial Institutions Department 2,034 International Financial Institutions Department 998
United Nations and Commonwealth Department 199    
    Multilateral and UN Directorate 69
    Office for Conflict Stabilisation and Mediation 33
Open Societies 40 Open Societies and Human Rights 117
Governance, Open Societies & Anti-Corruption Department 40 Civil Society and Civic Space 94
    Democratic Governance and Media Freedom 8
    Anti-Corruption and Illicit Finance 9
    Human Rights and Rule of Law 6
Chief Scientific Adviser 826 Research and Evidence 341
Evaluation and Statistics  18    
Evidence and Capability 0.8    
Evidence, Use & Capability 21 Evidence, Use & Capability 18
Research Department 787 Research Department 324
Economic Cooperation and Growth 78 Economic Cooperation and Growth 431
Growth and Resilience Department 78 Growth and Resilience Department 414
    UK Representation to FAO 17
Africa 2,341 Africa 1,186
Nigeria 268 Nigeria 115
Ethiopia 309 Ethiopia 164
Bangladesh 244 Bangladesh 96
Pakistan 205 Pakistan 104

 

Budget Process

The UK’s fiscal year runs from April to March

The UK budget process usually begins with the Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR), which sets medium-term expenditure limits for government departments for the following three to five years and is led by the UK Treasury. The CSR development process is an important opportunity to shape the UK’s overall long-term funding levels for development. In 2019 and 2020, the government conducted one-year ‘Spending Rounds’ due to the economic uncertainty of Brexit and then the COVID-19 crisis.

The last multi-year CSR in 2015 coincided with the creation of the UK’s previous global development strategy and contained explicit targets drawn from the strategy that DFID and other parts of the UK government committed to delivering within the CSR period. The CSR for 2021 was announced in October 2021 alongside the Autumn Budget. It was the first multi-year CSR since 2015. For the 2022 CSR and Autumn Budget, former Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Rishi has committed to making a decision as to whether the fiscal tests would be met to return UK ODA back to 0.7% of GNI in FY2022/23. It is unclear at this stage what the outcome of this decision will be.

From FY2019/20, the UK intends to have a single ‘fiscal event’ each year, i.e., an annual budget in October or November. The annual process is supposed to be:

  • Release of Spring Statement: In April, the UK’s Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) releases its ‘Spring Statement’ providing an assessment of the UK’s economic and fiscal outlook. The Chancellor begins initial policy consultations on budget proposals for the upcoming fiscal year.
  • Chancellor presents the budget to Parliament: Usually October/November, the Chancellor presents the annual budget to Parliament. The budget proposals do not include detailed budget lines for individual departments and therefore do not have a significant impact on ODA-related funding or policy decisions.
  • Parliament debates and adopts the annual budget: In approximately October and April, Members of Parliament debate the budget resolutions and scrutinize the budget. A Finance Bill is introduced which aims to be passed by Parliament before the fiscal year begins in April.
  • FCDO adjusts budget based on budget speech: FCDO begins annual resource allocation rounds (RAR) to adjust allocations of its annual budget to align with the budget ceiling set by the Chancellor.

The “Autumn” budget, originally scheduled for November 2019, was delayed till March 2020 due to the UK’s delayed exit from the EU. Given the economic uncertainty caused by the second wave of COVID-19, the Chancellor did not hold another budget in Autumn 2020 as originally intended, instead opting for additional budgetary statements. The FY2021/22 budget was presented in March 2021, with the ‘Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021’ released in October 2021. An additional budget statement, the ‘Spring statement 2022’ was released in March 2022, which largely addresses domestic concerns around the cost of living and inflation.

budget process chart