Foreign aid will be slashed, Raab confirms

The foreign secretary Dominic Raab has confirmed that Britain’s foreign aid budget will be cut to below £10bn for the first time since 2012.

Despite the government announcing its intention to cut overseas aid last year, the assurance comes as a result of comments made by Lord Garnier, the former solicitor general, who suggested the planned cut could not go ahead without a change in the law.

Giving evidence to the International Development Committee on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Raab acknowledged that legislation will need to be passed to amend Britain’s overseas aid obligation from 0.7% to 0.5% of GDP.

Although the change will be a temporary measure, the foreign secretary refused to be drawn on the detail of what the public finances will need to look like before recommitting to the 0.7% figure.

“It’s difficult to give the precise metrics, but what we will want to see is a correction of the public finances”, Mr Raab told the committee.

“As secretary of state, I want to see us get back there as soon as possible. And that is also the view of both the prime minister and the chancellor.”

The policy change will see Britain’s foreign aid bill drop from £13.9bn in 2019/2020 to £9.9bn for the next financial year.