Overseas aid
pledge to be honoured

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Britain will honour its pledge to meet the United Nations target of spending 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas aid next year, rising from 0.56 per cent in 2012, Chancellor George Osborne confirmed.

But the rise will be smaller than previously expected in cash terms because it is calculated as a proportion of national income, which has shrunk by 0.1 per cent this year, rather than increasing by 0.8 per cent as forecast in March.

And Mr Osborne told MPs that there would be no increase beyond the 0.7 per cent target in the years to come.

The Chancellor and Prime Minister David Cameron have come under strong pressure from Conservative backbenchers to ditch the 0.7 per cent promise, which they argue is unaffordable in economic conditions which are far more difficult than when it was first made.

International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “Achieving our pledge of 0.7 per cent is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do. It is in everyone’s interests for countries around the world to be stable and secure, to have educated and healthy populations, and to have growing economies.”