More than three-quarters of those questioned (77%) said that MPs should ensure Britain keeps its promises to the world’s poorest people.
And One’s UK director Diane Sheard said the findings suggested voters feel that funds should be targeted at the world’s poorest countries, where the campaign believes they will have “the greatest impact on ending extreme poverty”.
Department for International Development (DFID) figures show that in 2013, the 10 biggest recipients of bilateral UK aid included five ranked as among the world’s least developed countries – Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Tanzania – but also India, which the UN ranks as the 10th largest economy in the world, and Nigeria (26th). The largest aid recipient, with £338 million, was Pakistan, whose economy is ranked 45th in the world. Direct UK financial aid grants to India are ending this year, in recognition of the country’s growing economic strength.
In all, some £2.13 billion of £4.64 billion aid given by the UK directly to countries overseas in 2013 went to the least developed nations and other states classed as low income, according to DFID figures.
Two-thirds (66%) of those questioned by pollsters ComRes agreed that “the majority” of UK aid should be targeted towards the least developed countries.
In other findings, the new survey found that 79% of those questioned believed focusing aid on help for women and girls would improve the lives of everyone in developing countries and that 85% thought aid should be targeted at tackling preventable diseases such as malaria, Ebola and HIV/Aids.
Ms Sheard said: “These results show that British people continue to support aid and care about its impact, including tackling epidemics such as Ebola and providing long-term vaccines against life-threatening diseases.
“It is significant that such a large majority – three-quarters of those polled – agree that MPs should ensure that the UK keeps its promises to the world’s poorest people.
“In the run-up to the election, One is asking all parliamentary candidates across the country to cut the politicking and ‘Just Say Yes’ to supporting international development. We must not underestimate the vital role the next Parliament can play to ensure the UK remains a world leader in effective and transparent aid that has already changed millions of lives.”
:: ComRes interviewed 2,004 British adults between March 20 and 22.