International aid budget is slashed by £1bn

GEORGE Osborne has slashed more than £1bn from the UK’s aid budget to prop up other balances for capital spending.

Yesterday the chancellor announced nearly £1.2bn will be taken from the department for international development.

Planned increases in the department’s budget will be trimmed by £380m this year, £265m next year and £525m the following year.

Despite the cuts, the UK will still spend 0.7 per cent of national income on aid by 2013 because national income is forecast to be lower.

“The spending plans of the department for international development meant that the UK was on course to exceed 0.7 per cent of national income in 2013,” said Osborne yesterday.

“That I don’t think can be justified so we are adjusting those plans so we don’t overshoot the target.”

The coalition’s decision last year to increase aid spending by 34 per cent to £12bn over four years proved controversial in a time of austerity.

Yesterday aid groups Save The Children and Oxfam praised the government for at least sticking to its 0.7 per cent payment target.