The UK’s aid relationship with China up to 2023-24

A factual account of trends in UK aid to China from 2019 until 2023-24.

  1. Status: Completed
  2. Published: 21 March 2024
  3. Type: Information note
  4. Subject: Transitioning development partnerships
  5. Location: China
  6. Lead commissioner: Sir Hugh Bayley

Read the update

This update finds that bilateral aid to China has fallen by up to 90%, from around £80 million in 2019 to approximately £8 million in 2023-24, with an expectation that this level will remain as long as China is eligible to receive aid.

Both the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – mostly through the British Council – and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) continue to spend aid there on themes including education, the English language, arts and culture, and the protection of forests.

ICAI warns that transparency of UK aid to China is insufficient – particularly regarding “administration costs” – and that there is not enough transition planning for China’s expected graduation from aid eligibility.


Original information note published

28 April 2021

First update published

21 July 2021

Parliamentary scrutiny

IDC hearing 22 September 2021

Second update published

13 July 2023

Third update published

21 March 2024