Developing Countries: Coronavirus

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy written question – answered on 1st April 2021.

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Photo of The Bishop of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester Bishop

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the cuts to UK Research and Innovation funding on (1) the role of the UK in supporting the global health response to COVID-19, and (2) the capacity of the UK to provide expertise to assist international development as proposed in the Integrated Review of Security, Defence, Development and Foreign Policy.

Photo of Lord Callanan Lord Callanan Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)

The challenging financial situation we face due to the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in a temporary reduction in the UK’s aid spending target from 0.7% of GNI to 0.5%. This means making difficult decisions when it comes to prioritising how we spend aid money to deliver the most impactful outcomes.

The Government recognises the importance of supporting international research partnerships and supporting the UK research sector. My Rt. Hon. Friend Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer committed to increase investment in R&D across government to £14.6bn in 2021/22; this will support our ambitions set out in the Integrated Review, which recognises the importance of international collaboration to a healthy and productive R&D sector.

The Department is committed to delivering on the global health response to COVID. Despite the budgetary pressure caused by COVID last year, the Department mobilised £14.5m of ODA funding through the Global Challenges Research Fund and the Newton Fund to support research into COVID in developing country contexts.

We are currently working with UKRI, and all our Global Challenges Research Fund and Newton Fund Delivery Partners, to manage the financial year 2021/22 ODA allocations.

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