WaterAid statement on the reduction of Overseas aid budget announced in the Spending Review

Posted by
Fiona Callister
26 November 2020
Delsile Dlamini, 30, collecting water from a pond, Siweni, Eswatini, November, 2018.
Image: WaterAid/ Dennis Lupenga

Tim Wainwright, Chief Executive of WaterAid said: “Only weeks ago the government reaffirmed their manifesto commitment and promise to the world’s poorest people. This U turn sees the government not only turning its back on those least able to cope with the impact of COVID 19 and climate change, but also reducing our international standing just at the moment when we are redefining Global Britain on the world stage.

“As a nation we should be proud of our overseas aid spending – in the last five years alone every tax payer has helped to bring clean water and better sanitation to 62 million people.

“If the proposed cuts are applied across the board, in the next year three to four million people will be denied clean water. This means more preventable child deaths, lost days of work, and women and girls missing many opportunities because of the daily drudgery of fetching water. The Government wants to lead on making the world safer and more prosperous for us all, and today it has taken a huge step away from that ambition.

For more information, please contact: 

Fiona Callister, Global Head of Media, [email protected]
Or [email protected]
Or +44 (0)207 793 4965. 


WaterAid is working to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. The international not-for-profit organisation works in 28 countries to change the lives of the poorest and most marginalised people. Since 1981, WaterAid has reached 26.4 million people with clean water and 26.3 million people with decent toilets. For more information, visit www.wateraid.org/uk, follow @WaterAid or @WaterAidPress on Twitter, or find WaterAid UK on Facebook at www.facebook.com/wateraid.

  • 785 million people in the world – one in ten – do not have clean water close to home.[1]
  • 2 billion people in the world – almost one in four – do not have a decent toilet of their own.[2]
  • Around 310,000 children under five die every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That's almost 800 children a day, or one child every two minutes.[3]
  • Every £1 invested in water and toilets returns an average of £4 in increased productivity.[4]
  • Just £15 can provide one person with clean water.[5]

[1] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[2] WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2017 update and SDG Baselines

[3] Prüss-Ustün et al. (2014) and The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (2018)

[4] World Health organization (2012) Global costs and benefits of drinking-water supply and sanitation interventions to reach the MDG target and universal coverage

[5] www.wateraid.org