You are here:

House of Commons Library

UK assistance to affected British Overseas Territories after Hurricanes Irma and Maria

Published Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Members and their staff are receiving a significant number of representations regarding the UK government’s post-Hurricane assistance to affected British Overseas Territories. Worst affected in September were the British Virgin Islands (BVI), the Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla. This note provides a brief overview of what we know currently about the UK’s assistance effort to date.

Jump to full report >>

The Department for International Development (DFID) puts regular updates on its website about UK assistance.

At the time of writing, the amount pledged by the UK government for the Overseas Territories stands at £57 million.

In a parliamentary answer on 11 October, DFID Minister of State Sir Alan Duncan provided this breakdown of the £57 million pledged to date:

  • £32 million has come from the Conflict, Security and Stability Fund – a significant proportion of this fund has been spent on ‘non-ODA’ activities since it began operations in April 2016;
  • £25 million has come from Treasury reserves (£15 million) and from DFID (£10 million).

UK funds spent on the BVI, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Anguilla cannot count towards the UK’s official aid target of spending 0.7% of Gross National Income on ‘Official development assistance’ (ODA).

This is because they are classified as ‘high-income countries’ by the OECD. This fact has caused considerable controversy here in the UK. The UK government says that this will not affect how much it spends on assistance but wants the OECD's rules changed. Montserrat, classified as an 'upper middle-income country' by the OECD, is eligible for UK ODA.

Some outlines of the UK’s longer-term assistance have also begun to emerge.

On 13 October, the UK government announced that it would establish a "Private Sector Task Force to help long-term reconstruction in countries and territories hit by last month’s Caribbean hurricanes."

Other sources of assistance are also available. For example, the European Development Fund (EDF) is the EU's main instrument for providing development aid to African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and to overseas countries and territories (OCTs).

It provides aid to some British Overseas Territories which are not eligible for ODA under OECD rules. The six Territories that are eligible for EDF support are: Anguilla, Montserrat, Pitcairn, St Helena, the Turks and Caicos Islands and the Falkland Islands. However, the EDF also classifies the British Virgin Islands, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands as too wealthy to be given aid.

 

Commons Briefing papers CBP-8109

Authors: Jon Lunn; John Curtis

Topics: Foreign and Commonwealth Office, International development, Overseas territories

Share this page

Stay up to date

  • Subscribe to RSS feed Subscribe to Email alerts Commons Briefing papers

House of Commons Library

The House of Commons Library provides research, analysis and information services for MPs and their staff.