Covid-19 fallout: UK reduces development aid until economic situation improves

Amid the coronavirus pandemic that has caused a slowdown of economies, the UK has announced a temporary reduction in overseas development aid from 0.7 percent of its gross national income to 0.5 percent.

The UK Chancellor of the Exchequer on Wednesday made the announcement as part of the Spending Review, saying the seismic impact of the pandemic on the UK economy has forced the government to take tough but necessary decisions.

This includes the temporary reduction in the amount UK spends on aid.

"We will return to 0.7 percent when the fiscal situation allows," said Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Dominic Raab in a statement Wednesday.

The UN has said the world's richest countries will provide 0.7 percent of their national income for the developing countries. As of now, only five countries have provided or exceeded the percentage of ODA (official development assistance). Those include Denmark (0.71 percent), Luxembourg (1.05 percent), Norway (1.02 percent), Sweden (0.99 percent) and the United Kingdom (0.7 percent).

There are fears the ODA could go down as economies suffer from disruptions in production and supply chains caused by the pandemic.

In the statement, Dominic Raab said the UK government remains a world leading aid donor spending 0.5 percent of its national income. "We will spend more than £10 billion next year to fight poverty, tackle climate change and improve global health.

"We will combine aid with diplomacy, focusing our efforts where the UK can make a world-leading difference, ensuring the UK is a force for good across the globe."

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