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FCDO provisional 2021 UK aid spending shows grim reality of aid cuts

The FCDO has published its provisional statistics report on UK aid spending for 2021 showing the grim reality of slashed aid budgets.

Today, the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) published its provisional statistics report on UK aid spending for 2021. 

The total overall aid spend was £11.5 billion, down from £14.5 billion in 2020 following the UK government's reduction to overseas development aid (ODA) from 0.7 per cent to 0.5 per cent of gross national income (GNI), citing the economic challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic

ODA improves the lives of people around the world, helping them access the healthcare they deserve, including lifesaving sexual and reproductive healthcare. It also helps tackle global disease, eliminate poverty, provide humanitarian assistance during conflict and reduce the impact of climate change. 

Dr Alvaro Bermejo, Director-General for IPPF, said:

“While not surprising, the provisional UK aid spend for 2021 shows the grim reality of making such severe cuts during the tremendous global upheaval of a pandemic, when continued solidarity, support and humanitarian assistance from the wealthiest nations is most needed.

“The government already knew from the equalities impact assessment that these cuts to promised funds would be devastating for women, girls and diverse groups, who disproportionally experience the effects of poverty, disease and climate change while also bearing the burden of violence, especially in conflict.

“Not only that, but the government also chose to distribute the dedicated aid budget to other government departments. This includes a staggering £915 million to the Home Office and counting so-called ‘donations’ of excess COVID vaccines to other countries, which could have been given to those in need instead.

The aid cuts left millions of women in Ukraine with no control over their bodies, their futures, or their lives, just as it did in Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Yemen, Sudan and Syria. Today, the role of the UK in building a better, safer world is more critical than ever if there is any hope of reversing the impacts of the cuts and the government must return to the 0.7% as soon as possible – the lives and futures of people depend on it”.

Key statistics include:

  • The provisional ODA:GNI ratio for 2021 was 0.5 per cent, or £11.5 billion.
  • In 2021, UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) was £11,496 million, a decrease of £2,982 million (20.6 per cent decrease) on 2020.
  • In 2021, UK bilateral ODA was £7,086 million (a decrease of 25.7 per cent) while U.K. multilateral ODA was £4,411 million (a decrease of 10.8 per cent).
  • The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) spent £8,308 million in 2021, compared with £10,664 million in 2020 (a decrease of £2,356 million). 
  • Non-FCDO5 spend on ODA in 2021 was £3,189 million, compared with £3,815 million in 2020 (a decrease of £626 m). The non-FCDO share was 27.7 per cent, up from 26.3 per cent in 2020.
  • In 2021, £550 million of UK ODA was spent on activities to address the COVID19 pandemic².
  • The Home Office spent £915 million of ODA in 2021 (an increase of 53.3 per cent). This was mostly due to increased accommodation costs for asylum seekers to ensure the measures set out in law were adhered to in limiting the spread of COVID-19.

For media enquiries, please contact Karmen Ivey on [email protected] or [email protected]

About the International Planned Parenthood Federation

The International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) is a global service provider and advocate of sexual and reproductive health and rights for all.  

For over 65 years, IPPF through its 118 Member Associations and 15 partners, has delivered high-quality sexual and reproductive healthcare and helped advance sexual rights, especially for people with intersectional and diverse needs that are currently unmet. Our Member Associations and partners are independent organizations that are locally owned, which means the support and care they provide is informed by local expertise and context.

We advocate for a world where people are provided with the information they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and bodies. We stand up and fight for sexual and reproductive rights, and against those who seek to deny people their human right to bodily autonomy and freedom. We deliver care that is rooted in rights, respect, and dignity – no matter what.




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