A week before our original information note was published, the then foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, announced that in China, he had “reduced FCDO’s ODA for programme delivery by 95% to £0.9 million (with additional ODA in this year only to meet the contractual exit costs of former programmes).” Media reports at the time assumed that the foreign secretary’s statement meant that this applied to all UK aid. A few days later an FCDO minister described the statement as signalling an ‘almost complete’ reduction in UK aid to China.
Given the lack of clarity in the announcement, we requested further information from FCDO and other government departments on their budgeted aid to China in 2021-22 and used this information to produce an update to the information note, which was published in July 2021. Through this update we were able to clarify that the category of FCDO ‘ODA for programme delivery’ referred only to spending through the Prosperity Fund and the International Programme (now the Open Societies Programme) and therefore applied to a limited part of total UK ODA to China. However, the update was not able to report on budgeted UK aid to China in 2021-22 across all relevant aid portfolios because of the limited information the government provided at that time.
In an attempt to address continuing gaps in information about UK aid to China, we have published a further update, with more complete information on the changes in UK aid to China in 2021-22, and available information on budgeted aid to China for 2022-23 and beyond.
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