The World Bank expresses concern over the UK’s reduction in foreign aid.

The World Bank, a leading global anti-poverty institution, has voiced its distress over the recent cuts to the UK foreign aid budget. These reductions have had a tangible impact and resulted in “real pain,” according to the World Bank. The institution also expressed its desire for the UK to return to providing higher levels of funding.

For many years, the UK government held the position of the largest single donor to the World Bank’s fund aimed at supporting the poorest countries worldwide. However, since 2020, UK ministers have decided to curtail aid temporarily, citing the need to stabilise Britain’s public finances.

The UK’s annual funding to the World Bank’s International Development Association fund has been halved to £500 million. These reductions have come at a challenging time as the World Bank endeavours to secure funds for a new crisis response fund, which is designed to assist countries grappling with increased poverty levels.

Axel van Trotsenberg, senior managing director at the World Bank, emphasised the importance of every dollar in saving lives and mitigating the consequences of poverty. The challenges of the past three years have reversed decades of progress in the fight against global poverty. The impact is evident, with nearly 100 million more people experiencing absolute poverty (living on less than $2 per day) since the onset of the pandemic.

The World Bank urgently needs additional funding to address the needs of crisis-affected, impoverished nations, with a target date of December. However, as more resources are directed towards refugee support, it is affecting other aid flows. Aid to regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, for example, has declined by over 7% in real terms.

In response to these concerns, a government spokesperson stated that the UK remains one of the largest global aid donors. The UK has allocated substantial funds to international aid, assisting in poverty reduction, climate change mitigation, and supporting vulnerable populations worldwide. The spokesperson emphasised the positive contributions the UK’s Overseas Development Assistance has made to various regions facing challenges, including drought, food shortages, and flooding.

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