The Treasury is pressing for a 0.2 per cent cut in foreign aid spending to be announced as part of a spending review next week to replenish state coffers.
Boris Johnson is reportedly considering cutting foreign aid spending from 0.7 per cent of gross national income to 0.5 per cent.
Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, is said to be keen for the measure to be signed off in time for a spending review scheduled to take place next week.
The PM is insisting the cut will be temporary and normal levels of aid spending will be restored as early as 2022, according to The Times.
In August, The Telegraph reported the Foreign Secretary was at loggerheads with the Treasury over proposals to reduce foreign aid. Dominic Raab took over the UK’s international development brief in September after the Government’s merger of the Foreign Office and the Department for International Development.
At the time, he said the Government was “absolutely” committed to its aid spending commitment.
The foreign aid budget was set at £15.8 billion before the pandemic and has already been cut by billions due to the fall in gross national income.
The 0.7 per cent figure is recommended by the UN and enshrined under the International Development Act.
There are three exemptions whereby Britain can reduce its spend including a “substantial change” to national income.
Ministers are expected to argue that the financial toll Covid has inflicted on the economy means it cannot fulfil its aid target. Last year, Britain spent more than £15 billion on aid, including a £972 million contribution to the EU development budget.
A No 10 spokesman said: “We’ve talked about needing to make sure we get value for money for the UK taxpayer and that aid is spent efficiently.”
Read more: Telegraph View: Britain should rethink its foreign aid target