The UK's development budget is an important part of securing Britain's place in the world. Aid has the power to end disease, hunger and extreme poverty, to build strong economies and to help the world's most vulnerable people. But it also helps us to influence and shape the world around us. Spending 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on assistance to developing nations and international emergencies helps deliver a more secure and prosperous UK, while having a life-saving impact on the ground.
Whether it's stepping up our support for desperate Syrian refugees, tackling the lethal legacy of landmines or giving life-saving aid to stop people dying of hunger in East Africa, UK aid is keeping Britain safe while the helping the world's poorest stand on their own two feet.
Overseas development assistance saves lives and transforms lives. Over the last five years, UK aid has been life-saving and life-changing for millions of the poorest people around the world. Between 2011 and 2015, the Department for International Development (DFID) supported over 11 million children in school and helped more than 60 million people get access to clean water, better sanitation and improved hygiene conditions. DFID is also leading the global effort to save millions of girls from child marriage and Female Genital Mutilation.
Campaign for 'real aid'
I am proud of the excellent results our aid budget achieves in helping millions of the world's poorest and most vulnerable people. For example, between April 2015 and March 2018, DFID reached 26.8 million people with humanitarian assistance, supported 11.4 million children to gain a decent education, and supported 40.3 million people to access clean water and/or better sanitation.
I agree we need to ensure that our aid budget is spent in the best way possible. This is not only vital for those that UK aid helps, but also for the British taxpayers who deserve the best value for money and deserve the highest levels of transparency. UK aid works to achieve the Global Goals and the priorities set out in the 2015 UK Aid Strategy, to create a safer, healthier and more prosperous world for us all, regardless of which department is responsible for the spending. Efficiency and value for money are at the centre of all this work.
Poverty reduction remains at the heart of UK aid spending and the Government remains committed to the 0.7 per cent target and to untied aid. The challenges the world faces are changing and by working across government we can make use of a greater range of skills and expertise to deliver on our development goals. All UK official development assistance (ODA) spend meets the international ODA rules and DFID experts provide advice to the cross-government funds and departments to ensure this criteria is understood and met.
As the Spending Review approaches, the Government remains committed to improving the lives of the world's poorest and marginalised, and Ministers continue to work to ensure all UK aid spending meets the highest standards of efficiency and transparency.