Bond has criticised the government for cutting £1.5bn from the World Bank’s programme which goes towards lower income countries to help them recover from Covid-19.
The UK will reduce its contribution to the latest round of the bank’s development funding programme, the International Development Association (IDA) from just under £3bn to £1.4bn.
The IDA has a membership of 174 countries and aims to reduce poverty in lower-income countries by providing grants and loans to improve peoples living conditions.
The UK has reduced its share of support by 54%. Once the top donor to the IDA, the country has now fallen behind the United States and Japan as the biggest donors to the scheme. More details of the latest funding commitment are due to be published today.
‘Slashing a critical fund’
Bond is a UK network for civil society organisations working in international development, and has over 400 members.
Abigael Baldoumas, policy manager for aid effectiveness at Bond, said: “The UK slashing its contribution by more than half is yet another casualty of cuts to Official Development Assistance.
“The drop of £1.5m is damaging and means the UK is no longer the leading IDA grant donor – a position it has held proudly for several years.
“Cutting support to an established and critical fund before the International Development Strategy is published is concerning because it raises questions around whether the UK intends to live up to its reputation as a reliable and strategic global partner.”
In October 2021, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a cut to the UK’s overseas aid budget from 0.7% of the country's Gross National Income (GNI) to 0.5%. The government is planning to increase the overseas aid budget in 2024-25, he said.
At the time, Stephanie Draper, CEO of Bond, said: “Despite the chancellor’s commitment to get back to 0.7% of GNI spent on UK aid in 2024, what matters is what the Treasury is doing to ensure that the UK shows up in the world right now.”
“The government is once again balancing the books on the backs of the poorest and jeopardising trust in the UK around the world. There will be even less funding for humanitarian and development programmes and potentially a third round of cuts to life saving work.”