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UK Research and Innovation: Development Aid

Question for Treasury

UIN HL14687, tabled on 12 April 2021

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish a cost-benefit financial assessment of the impact of reduced Official Development Assistance funding for research and development over the next five years.

Answered on

26 April 2021

In the context of unprecedented economic and fiscal circumstances, the Government decided at the 2020 Spending Review that sticking rigidly to spending 0.7% of gross national income as Official Development Assistance (ODA) was not an appropriate prioritisation of resources.

The 2020 Spending Review and subsequent review of departmental ODA allocations conducted by the Foreign Secretary confirmed departmental ODA allocations for the financial year 2020-21. This has ensured that UK ODA is focused on our strategic priorities, spent where it will have the maximum impact, has greater coherence and delivers most value for money.

As a consequence of this prioritisation, ODA funding for research and development (R&D) over 2021-22 has been reduced from previous years. However, the Government invested nearly £15 billion in overall R&D in 2021-22 at the 2020 Spending Review. This follows four years of significant growth in government R&D funding and boost of more than £1.5bn in 2020-21 alone.

Decisions have not yet been made on the ODA budget over the following years. The Government remains committed to international development and intends to return to the 0.7% target when the fiscal situation allows.

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