London: United Kingdom’s new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak is considering freezing the country’s foreign aid budget for an additional two years, the Telegraph reported on Friday, citing sources.
British foreign aid spending is limited to 0.5% of its national income. Since the country’s public finances had taken a significant hit as a result of the coronavirus pandemic two years prior, the government has reduced its spending on international aid.
“All spending decisions will be considered in the round by the Prime Minister and Chancellor at the Autumn Statement,” a UK Treasury spokesperson said in a statement, reports Reuters.
Sunak, who was finance minister at the time, had said last year that foreign spending should return to 0.7% of economic output by 2024-2025, the report added.
However, according to the Telegraph report, officials are considering extending the foreign aid spending cut by another two years to 2026-2027.
The report added there was scope for deeper cuts along with an option to peg foreign aid spending to inflation for three years in the future.
The report comes as the government draws up spending cuts and cancels tax cuts as the rising cost of mortgages, food, fuel and heating squeezes many household budgets.