The UK’s £13bn aid budget cannot be spent helping its overseas territories recover from Hurricane Irma, the Government has said.
Instead, funding must be collected from other reserves across the Government, which have been described as “scanty”.
But the Government has denied its emergency response has been impaired by budgetary considerations.
Anguilla, Turks, Caicos and the British Virgin Islands are all considered too wealthy to receive emergency funding from the budget, according to international aid rules.
The UK has so far pledged £57m to help fund the recovery effort following the deadly storm.
Theresa May initially vowed to give £32m, but promised another £25m after her government came under criticism for its initial response to the disaster.
Now, the Government is facing claims that five times more aid could have been sent to help the victims of the hurricane had it been allowed to dip into aid budget reserves.
An unnamed minister told the BBC: “These millions (donated by the government) are non-ODA,” he said, referring to a type of funding reserved for the poorest nations known as official development assistance. “Therefore they come from rather scanty resources.
”This great pot of ODA, necessary for development, needs to be spent on crises like this and we have to find a way of doing it.”
The minister said the relief package could have been significantly higher.
A spokesperson for the Department of International Development confirmed the aid budget could not be used but denied this hindered its relief efforts.
The way Britain and 34 other developed nations spend their aid budget is governed by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development based in Paris (OECD).
Countries are given a ranking according to need, which is intended to ensure the poorest nations are given priority.
Anguilla, Turks and Caicos and the British Virgin Islands do not qualify because as British Overseas Territories…