(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Britain will honor its pledge to meet the United Nations target of spending 0.7 percent of national income on overseas aid next year, rising from 0.56 percent in 2012, Chancellor, Finance Secretary George Osborne confirmed here on Wednesday.
During his speech to MPs at the House of Commons, Osborne indicated that the rise will be smaller than previously expected in cash terms because it is calculated as a proportion of national income, which has shrunk by 0.1 percent this year, rather than increasing by 0.8 percent as forecast in March.
Also, Osborne told MPs that there would be no increase beyond the 0.7 percent target in the years to come.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron have come under strong pressure from Conservative backbenchers to ditch the 0.7 percent promise, which they argue is unaffordable in economic conditions which are far more difficult than when it was first made.
In this context, Osborne said, "A mark of our values as a society is our commitment to the world poorest. We made a promise as a country that we would spend 0.7 percent of our gross national income on international development and I am proud to be part of the first British government in history which will honor that commitment, and honor it as promised next year." "We will not however spend more than 0.7 percent, so as we did last year, we will adjust the Department for International Development budget to reflect the latest economic forecasts," added Osborne.
The Department for International Development (DFID) is being asked to make reductions in its own day-to-day spending of GBP 250 million in 2013/14 and GBP 430 million in 2014/15, in line with other Whitehall ministries.
Meanwhile, International Development Secretary Justine Greening said, "The coalition Government has today reaffirmed its commitment to the world's poorest people by confirming the UK will spend 0.7 percent of Gross National Income (GNI) on international development from 2013." "Achieving our pledge of 0.7 percent is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. It is in everyone's interests for countries around the world to be stable and secure, to have educated and healthy populations, and to have growing economies," added Greening.
DFID noted that, as a result of today's announcements, total overseas development assistance will be GBP 162 million lower than previously planned in 2012, GBP 254 million pounds lower in 2013, and GBP 388 million pounds lower in 2014.