Britain hits UN's 0.7% aid spending target for a third year

Britain has hit the United Nations target of spending 0.7% of national income on aid for the third year in succession, according to figures from the Department for International Development.

Annual statistics released by DFID showed that the £12.1 billion of overseas development aid in 2015 represented exactly 0.7% of the UK's gross national income (GNI).

However, spending on aid fell below the target when measured by new international accounting standards adopted in 2014, which put the level at 0.66%.

The Government has pledged to meet the new standards - which came into effect after spending plans for last year were set - in its aid spending for this year.

Total aid spend in 2015 was up by £437 million (3.7%) compared with 2014.

Leading recipients of UK bilateral aid in 2015 were Pakistan (£374 million), Ethiopia (£339 million), Afghanistan (£300 million), Nigeria (£263 million) and Syria (£258 million), with India coming in ninth on £186 million.

All of the top 20 recipients were in Africa - which took almost £2.8 billion (55%) of the total - or Asia - which received around £2.1 billion (41%).

Just 3% of spending went to the Americas, 1% to Europe and 0.2% to the Pacific region.