UK Aid Cuts to Afghanistan and Pakistan, IRC statement in response

Following FCDO Budget Allocations for 2022-23 and 2023-24 made on 30 March 2023 by Andrew Mitchell, Development Minister, Laura Kyrke-Smith, International Rescue Committee UK Executive Director, said: 


“After multiple rounds of aid cuts, next year’s budget allocations further undermine the UK’s commitment to helping people in crisis and make it even harder to meet growing humanitarian needs around the world.


In Afghanistan and Pakistan, for example, the impact will be acute. In Afghanistan, almost the entire population is currently living in poverty and 28.3 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. Women continue to be disproportionately affected, with 84 percent of female-headed households facing acute hunger. UK aid has saved lives and, despite efforts by the de facto authorities to restrict aid delivery, the IRC is providing support to over 170,000 clients per week. Now is not the time to step away from the Afghan people. Yet the Government has decided to cut its support this coming year to Afghanistan and Pakistan by 53% from £304.4m to £141.9m.


Foreign aid meant for tackling global poverty and addressing crises overseas is reducing in large part because Home Office spending on refugees and asylum seekers in the UK is escalating fast. Such support is essential, but should come primarily from outside the Official Development Assistance (ODA) budget – not at the expense of those living through crisis overseas. We urge the Government to quickly return to spending the majority of ODA in fragile and conflict affected states such as Afghanistan, where need and impact are greatest.”