UK aid to refugees in the UK

A review assessing UK aid spent on supporting refugees and asylum seekers within the UK between 2015 and 2022.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 29 March 2023
  3. Type: Rapid review
  4. Subject: Refugees and displacement
  5. Location: UK
  6. Lead commissioner: Tamsyn Barton
  7. SDGs covered:Reduced inequalities, Gender equality

Read the approach summary paper

Our approach

This rapid review looks at all UK aid spent on supporting refugees and asylum seekers within the UK between 2015 and 2022.

We engaged with government departments and bodies involved in the planning, delivery, coordination, reporting and oversight of UK aid funded in-donor refugee support spend across government, including local government.

The main department involved in this spend is the Home Office, while the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities runs the Homes for Ukraine scheme, significant parts of which are funded by UK aid. The Department for Education and the Department of Health and Social Care also spend under this category. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office is responsible for reporting UK aid spend to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s Development Assistance Committee.

The review complements previous scrutiny of the UK government’s policy and practice in supporting refugees and asylum seekers conducted by the Public Accounts Committee and the National Audit Office. Unlike these earlier reports, ICAI only reviews aspects of UK spending that are covered by the UK aid budget.

Review questions

  1. How relevant is the UK’s approach to spending official development assistance (ODA) on in-donor refugee support to its development strategy, its legal requirements towards refugees and asylum seekers, and to the OECD-DAC reporting criteria and international best practice in this area?
  2. How well are standards for aid delivery in support of refugees in the UK being met?
  3. How well are different parts of the UK government working together to minimise the impact that sharp increases and fluctuations in spending on refugees in the UK have on the planning and delivery of the UK’s international development and humanitarian programming?



Published 10 November 2022

Evidence gathering


Review publication

Published 29 March 2023

Update to the review

Published 25 April 2023

Government response

Published 6 July 2023

Further scrutiny

Follow-up published 10 April 2024