The news announced yesterday that the government's overseas aid spending will increase by almost 17% a year to form a new record high has been welcomed by overseas development groups.
The groups said the plans announced by the chancellor Alistair Darling put Britain firmly on track to achieve the targets set at Gleneagles.
The comprehensive spending review revealed that the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's measure of official development assistance, which includes money spent by other departments such as the Foreign Office on peacekeeping in Darfur and the Congo, will go up by 16.9% a year on average to reach £9.1bn by 2010-11. This represents 0.56% of national income - the highest ever share.
George Gelber, Head of Policy at CAFOD, Catholic Agency for Overseas Development said: "CAFOD welcomes the year on year increase in development assistance announced by Alistair Darling. This is really good news for poor people in developing countries and for all the people who campaigned so hard in Make Poverty History."
"Overall development assistance will increase to over £9 billion in 2010/11 with Department for International Development's share of this set at £7.9 billion. This will enable the UK to meet its historic commitment to achieve the UN 0.7% target in 2013. It is good news for Africa too, which will get at least half of the projected increase.
"Aid works is the message that is coming from CAFOD's partners in Ethiopia, for instance, aid to Ethiopia in 2006 helped an extra 1.2 million more children attend primary school: net enrolment rates have increased to 71% for girls and 75% for boys."
But Gelber pointed out that climate change "threatens many of the gains from rising aid budgets. Unaccounted for when 0.7% commitments were agreed, adaptation to climate change already is a reality, and needs additional funding to existing aid commitments."