01 April 2010
UK support for the world’s poorest people is at its highest level for almost half a century, new figures reveal today.
Statistics released by the Department for International Development show that the UK spent 0.52% of Gross National Income on overseas aid in 2009 – the highest proportion since 1964.
The figures also show that the UK is one of the few G8 countries on course to meet its 2005 Gleneagles commitment of contributing 0.7% of GNI to international aid from 2013.
UK Official Development Assistance (ODA) reached £7,365 million in 2009 - the highest absolute level of UK overseas aid ever recorded - which is an increase of more than £1 billion on the previous year’s figure.
A draft bill is currently before Parliament which would place a legal duty on the International Development Secretary to ensure that the UK spends 0.7% of GNI on overseas aid from 2013.
International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander said:
"People across the UK can be proud that this country is leading the world in the fight against global poverty.
"Today’s figures show that we are spending more on overseas aid than ever before. This means we are able to help more people living in the poorest parts of the world.
"From the financial crisis to climate change, global diseases to international crime and terrorism, we are facing a growing number of shared challenges across the globe. An investment in the future of the poorest people is an investment in a more stable, prosperous and sustainable future for us all.
"UK investment is supporting more families in the developing world than ever with access to basic education and health services as well as water, sanitation and food.
"But we must go further and that is why we are pressing other governments to keep their promises, and pushing hard for world leaders to agree a new action plan on global poverty in New York this September.”
In the last ten years, UK aid has helped 33 million more children go to primary school and helped give clean drinking water to some 380 million people.
The UK is also supporting the delivery of 50 million insecticide treated bed nets across Africa, protecting families from the life-threatening malaria carried by mosquitoes.
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