The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, has confirmed that the UK development assistance budget will be cut by US$3.6 billion (£2.9 billion) in 2020. A package of cuts, devised to protect spending on the 'bottom billion', climate change, and girls' education has been agreed upon by the government. Raab also noted that funding supporting human rights and for research and development will be maintained.
The cuts are a result of the negative economic impact that COVID-19 has had on the UK. The UK is committed to providing 0.7% of its gross national income (GNI) as ODA. Given that the UK economy is expected to contract by 10% in 2020, many in the development community were prepared for cuts; however, the depth of the cuts — which will effectively reduce the UK’s ODA budget by 20% — has come as a shock to many. There are concerns that the UK could even fall below its 0.7% commitment in 2020. Raab has defended the cuts as a prudent approach and reaffirmed the government’s commitment to meeting its 0.7% aid target.