Press release

UK’s commitment to back Britain’s world class aid organisations in the event of a “no deal”

The International Development Secretary makes a commitment to protect Britain’s world class aid organisations in the unlikely event that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal with the EU.

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The International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt, has today (Thursday 23 August) made a commitment to stand by and protect Britain’s world class aid organisations in the unlikely event that we reach March 2019 without agreeing a deal with the EU.

The European Commission (EC) currently requires UK aid organisations to prove at application stage that they are able to fund the delivery of humanitarian contracts should there be a no deal scenario. The vast majority of organisations are unable to make such a financial commitment up front, and so are being discouraged from applying.

British organisations play a leading role in life-saving aid programmes across the world.

To ensure this continues post March 2019, DFID will fund the cost of any new programme led by a UK aid organisation currently funded from the core budget of the EU’s humanitarian and civil protection agency (ECHO).

International Development Secretary, Penny Mordaunt said:

“I am pleased to give our world class British NGOs a firm commitment that the UK Government will help them overcome the difficulties that they have been facing.

“Aid delivered well has the power to change lives; this is what the UK does best and I will do all that I can to ensure that British aid organisations continue to play a leading role in helping some of the world’s most disadvantaged people.

“It is in everyone’s best interests that we reach an agreement going forward on our future relationship with the EU on development. An effective partnership will enable the UK and EU to jointly help the poorest and most vulnerable people.”

Today’s commitment from DFID will provide reassurance to UK aid organisations that they can bid for EC funding without potentially incurring additional financial risk. Support will be provided from funding that would otherwise have been channelled through the EU.

Ms Mordaunt has written to UK NGOs to confirm her funding commitment.

The letter states: “I am pleased to announce the Government’s commitment to support UK aid organisations from additional financial liabilities as a result of “no deal’ planning currently being undertaken by ECHO. This contingency plan would apply in the event that ECHO terminates funding to UK organisations when we leave the EU.

“I understand the difficulties you and your colleagues have experienced over recent months in applying for EU funding – funding for which you remain legally entitled to bid – and the frustrations you have faced in delivering the high-quality programming for which British development organisations are renowned. It is in neither the EU’s nor the UK’s interest that organisations which are best-placed are prevented from delivering our programmes.

“The UK wants to be a good development partner to the EU, now and in the future. We share a common goal of delivering excellent development outcomes for the world’s poorest. I am clear in my personal commitment to support UK organisations – the best in the world - to deliver on this common goal.”

Last month, the UK separately received important reassurances from the EU that UK aid organisations would not be discriminated against when bidding for contracts to deliver aid to refugees in Turkey.

Ms Mordaunt said she was pleased at these “reassurances” which relate to funding from the Facility for Refugees in Turkey.

At last month’s International Development Committee Ms Mordaunt highlighted the unfair contracts saying: “We are clear that the European Commission must remove these disclaimers it is using to hinder British aid organisations from delivering the common goal of alleviating poverty which would hit the world’s poorest people hardest.”

Published 23 August 2018