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Official Development Assistance

Volume 692: debated on Tuesday 20 April 2021

What recent discussions he has had with his G7 counterparts on global flows of official development assistance. (914439)

The Foreign Secretary and junior Ministers, including myself, speak regularly to counterparts in the G7 and other countries about official development assistance, including in supporting the response to and recovery from covid-19. The Foreign Secretary’s most recent bilateral conversations on international development with G7 partners were with French Foreign Minister Le Drian and Japanese Foreign Minister Motegi. As G7 president and host this year, we are strongly supporting work towards a sustainable, inclusive and resilient recovery, and the Foreign Secretary will host G7 Foreign and Development Ministers in May, when we will discuss sustainable recovery as an integral part of our agenda.

Are the Government not a little concerned that when they are chairing the G7 in a global pandemic, when international development has never been more important, the Germans have hit the 0.7%, the French have embraced the 0.7%, and the Americans have increased their international development spending by no less than $15 billion, whereas we in Britain are breaking our promise to the poorest, breaking our manifesto commitment on which we were all elected just over a year ago, and cutting humanitarian aid, leading directly to hundreds of thousands of avoidable deaths, particularly among women and children?

I do not accept what my right hon. Friend is saying. The UK remains a development superpower. Based on OECD data for 2020, the UK will be the third largest official development assistance donor in the G7 as a percentage of GNI in 2021. We will spend a greater percentage of our GNI than the US, Japan, Canada or Italy and, to be absolutely clear, we will still spend £10 billion on ODA in 2021. We have said that we will return to spending 0.7% on ODA as soon as the fiscal situation allows, but we have clear priorities and remain an active, confident, internationalist, burden-sharing and problem-solving nation.