Britain reaches 0.7 percent overseas aid target

2nd April 2014, Comments 0 comments

Britain has reached its goal of spending 0.7 percent of gross national income on foreign aid, the Department for International Development said Wednesday.

Overseas development aid amounted to £11.44 billion ($19.03 billion, 13.80 billion euros) in 2013, DfID said.

That is the equivalent of 0.72 percent of gross national income, up from 0.56 percent in 2012, according to economic data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

Britain now joins a select group of just six countries who have achieved the target, which was first agreed in 1970 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The others are Luxembourg, Sweden, Norway, Denmark and the Netherlands, according to an British parliamentary analysis published last June.

The Overseas Development Institute think tank called it a "fantastic achievement".

Prime Minister David Cameron has come under pressure from members of his Conservative party to slash the aid budget, which was exempt from spending cuts imposed on other departments as part of the government's austerity programme.

He has resisted those calls, although last year he caused an uproar among charities by saying that the aid budget could be used on peacekeeping and for other defence-related purposes.

© 2014 AFP

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