34% of adults want UK ODA budget to remain reduced, reveals public opinion survey

The British Foreign Policy Group (BFPG), an independent think-tank, recently released its annual Survey of UK Public Opinion on Foreign Policy. The survey, which was carried out on a sample of 2,000 UK adults and weighted to be nationally representative, explores British people's attitudes on foreign affairs including global development and climate change. The survey reveals that the largest share of respondents thought the UK government's cuts to its ODA budget had harmed its international reputation (37%). However, the largest share of respondents (34%) - also thought the UK’s ODA budget should remain reduced in the future.

The UK government temporarily reduced its ODA budget from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5% in 2021 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the UK's economy. The UK government committed to reinstating the ODA budget to 0.7% once key fiscal tests are met. The survey found that just under a quarter (24%) of respondents would like the UK government to go back to delivering 0.7% of its GNI as ODA when the economy reaches pre-pandemic levels, and only 17% of respondents wanted the UK’s ODA budget restored immediately. Response varied largely by age group - the 'over 60s' group was the most likely to want the ODA budget to remain reduced. Inversely, the 'under-35s' group was most likely to support the ODA budget being restored at higher levels. 

The survey also looked at British respondents’ views on climate change. It found that support for UK international leadership on climate change was strong at 66%, but it also showed that respondents believed that international leadership depended heavily on UK domestic leadership and faster progress on getting to net-zero. 

Report – British Foreign Policy Group