Development assistance campaigners and key parliamentarians have become increasingly angry at the likelihood that the UK government will make a £4.0 billion (US$5.4 billion) cut to its official development assistance (ODA) budget in April 2021, without the promised vote on the decision by parliamentarians.
In the past, the UK has legislated the provision of 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) as ODA. However, last year, the UK government signaled its intention to temporarily depart from this legislative commitment and provide only 0.5% of its GNI as ODA, and it noted that parliamentarians would get a vote on changing the legislation to enable this change.
The government has delayed the parliamentary vote on UK ODA legislation, though, which was scheduled for the first quarter of 2021 and is now anticipated to take place in July. However, the government has not delayed its decision on the cuts, which looks like it will take place in April, ahead of the vote.
Conservative member of parliament (MP) Andrew Mitchell, former International Development Secretary, has heavily criticized the decision to delay the vote while going ahead with the cuts, noting that the action is "pernicious and shabby". The UK government has stated that it is acting within the law.
Assistance campaigners have also criticized the lack of engagement and consultation on where the ODA cuts should be taken from. James Cleverly, a minister at the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), recently confirmed that the government had no plans to consult with external stakeholders on the cuts process, and that information would be available when the decisions had been made.