DfID's Aid Budget Spared from UK Spending Cuts

Food aid provided by the World Food Program and funded by the U.K. Budget cuts for the Department for International Development will only affect its administration costs and not its international aid budget. Photo by: Foreign and Commonwealth Office / CC BY-ND Foreign and Commonwealth OfficeCC BY-ND

The Department for International Development’s foreign aid budget was exempted from cuts outlined by the U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne’s spending review.

DfID and other departments of the U.K. government will see their budgets slashed by an average of 19 percent over the next four years, according to the review, but cuts to DfID’s budget will only affect its allowance for administration costs.

The U.K. coalition government has earlier ring-fenced DfID’s international aid budget from any reductions over the next four years.

“The Department for International Development’s budget will rise to £11.5bn [USD18.5 billion] over the next four years, reaching 0.7 percent of national income in 2013,” BBC reports.

DfID will reduce its back-office costs to account for only 2 percent of its total spending by 2015, compared to a global donor average of 4 percent, according to a release by the agency.

Despite being protected from austerity measures and seeing an increased budget, U.K. Secretary of State for International Development Andrew Mitchell has launched a thorough review of DfID’s bilateral and multilateral aid programs.

A series of “development awareness” projects in Britain were scrapped, while bilateral aid to China and Russia, deemed progressive enough not to receive development assistance, was suspended.

DfID will also cancel the Development Awareness Fund. It says it will redirect money from low-priority projects to programs combating poverty.

>> A Conversation With Andrew Mitchell on UK Aid Reform

Mitchell has repeatedly emphasized that U.K. aid spending will focus on value for money.

DfID says it will focus on combating malaria, and improving child and maternal health. It will also target fragile states and prioritize programs on economic growth and wealth creation, and low carbon growth and climate change adaptation.

>> Andrew Mitchell: UK Aid Funding to Focus on ‘Value for Money’

Meanwhile, the U.K. Foreign Office is among the hardest hit by the spending cuts. The office’s budget will be slashed by 24 percent, which BBC says could result in a “sharp reduction” in the number of the U.K.-based diplomats.

Rizza Leonzon contributed to this report.

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    Ivy Mungcal

    As senior staff writer, Ivy Mungcal contributes to several Devex publications. Her focus is on breaking news, and in particular on global aid reform and trends in the United States, Europe, the Caribbean and the Americas. Before joining Devex in 2009, Ivy produced specialized content for U.S. and U.K.-based business websites.