Britain’s departure from the EU will challenge the bloc’s role as the world leading aid donor, and could see EU aid shrink by up to 3%, according to an authoritative new study by the European Parliament. The EU is the world’s largest aid donor, and the UK in absolute terms, is the second biggest, giving some $18.7bn. The withdrawal of the UK from the EU by 2019 “may therefore mean a huge loss for the EU as a global donor”, the 40-page report warns. The publication comes as the UK looks to review its aid strategy, under a famously aid-sceptic new development minister, Priti Patel. At a major aid conference in London on Tuesday (21 March) Patel pledged a new focus on smaller, grassroots charities. She had previously questioned the UK government’s (and EU target) of spending 0.7% of GDP on aid and employed a special advisor who advocated the abolition of the Department for International Development. That comes against a background of a right-wing media campaign in the UK, led by the Daily Mail and Daily Telegraph, to cut overseas aid. Speaking at the BOND development conference, Patel announced a new fund operated with the Charity Commission for small charities with under £250,000 per annum income.