Umbrella body Bond faces almost £1m cut in government funding

Bond, the membership body for development charities, has lost nearly £1m in funding as government cuts to official development assistance begin to bite across the aid sector.

The government announced last November that the UK’s overseas aid budget would be cut from 0.7 per cent of gross national income to 0.5 per cent, slicing more than £4bn off the annual spend.

In January a group of international aid organisations, including Bond, warned the government was making decisions on programme cuts to international aid programmes behind closed doors and without proper scrutiny or consultation.

In a statement today, Bond said the government told the organisation last week it would lose £895,000 in funding, half of the total income it receives from the government. 

This cut was across the two programmes that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office supported as part of the UK Aid Connect programme. 

The first programme, Learning from Consortia, had its budget for the year cut from £787,000 to £306,000. Its aim was to facilitate collective learning and support 13 groups to deliver their outcomes, led by Bond and The Partnering Initiative, along with an academic advisory board. It will now close.

A second initiative, the Civil Society Collective, had its budget cut from £1m to £586,000. Its goal is to strengthen civil society organisations' ability to adapt to fast-changing environments, including adapting programmes to Covid-19. 

The funding also supported Bond's efforts to advocate for better humanitarian and development policies, covering part of the organisation's safeguarding work, including its work to push for aid transparency.

Bond said it was too early to talk about potential redundancies because the projects had multiple funding streams that included other organisations. 

Stephanie Draper, chief executive of Bond, said: “UK Aid Connect allowed Bond to help make UK civil society better co-ordinated and more effective and has helped us maintain a strong and thriving network. 

“However, the reality is, the government's cuts to Bond's work are nowhere near as devastating as the cuts many NGOs are facing to programmes around the world that keep girls safe and in school, deliver healthcare, as well as food and clean water to people facing war or global pandemics in countries such as Yemen and India.

“Regardless of the government's cuts to Bond, with support from our members and our other donors, we will continue to support the humanitarian and development sector in their crucial efforts to help make the world a fairer, safer, healthier and more sustainable place.”

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