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Departmental Expenditure: Aid

Volume 639: debated on Monday 23 April 2018

25. How much and what proportion of his Department’s expenditure he estimates will count towards the Government’s 0.7% of GDP aid spending target in 2018-19. (904883)

Official development assistance, or aid, exists to support the welfare or economic development of recipient countries. As such, military activity can be reported as aid only in certain very limited circumstances, as defined by the OECD. Nevertheless, the Ministry of Defence budget assumes £5 million a year—0.01% of the budget—for activity that may be counted as aid.

Thank you for getting through the Order Paper, Mr Speaker.

Can the Secretary of State confirm that none of the money spent financing the recent military action in Syria will be in any way counted towards the aid budget?

I can confirm that is the case. Sometimes with a certain element of sadness, much of what the Ministry of Defence and our armed forces do cannot be counted towards aid expenditure. Our peacekeeping in South Sudan and our hurricane relief operation in the Caribbean alone come to £100 million-worth of expenditure. None of that can be counted as humanitarian aid and support, which I think all of us in this House would agree it most certainly is.