The EU has been accused of ‘hitting the world’s poorest’ as it aims to freeze out British aid agencies in an attempt to gain the upper hand in the Brexit negotiations.

Officials for Martin Selmayr, the senior aide to the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, have put disclaimers in aid contracts telling UK charities that they will be dropped as a partner in programmes if Britain leaves the EU without a deal.

The notes state: “For British applicants: Please be aware that eligibility criteria must be complied with for the entire duration of the grant.

“If the UK withdraws from the EU during the grant period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, you will cease to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible to participate) or be required to leave the project.”

A UK Official has expressed serious concern at the inclusion of the note saying that “this disclaimer must be removed by the European Commission…As it stands, they are hindering British aid organisations’ ability to deliver the common goal of alleviating poverty, which would hit the world’s poorest people hardest.”

Claire Godfrey at Bond, the UK network that represents 400 international development non-governmental organisations, said the commission had misunderstood the eligibility criteria for British NGOs to access funding if there is no deal.

In 2016, the European Development Fund handed out almost £2billion in aid to international projects, many of which involve British charities.

This move is being branded as a dangerous and sinister tactic by the EU to gain the upper hand in the Brexit negotiations. It is being viewed as yet another attempt by the EU to strong-arm the UK into submission Stakeholders have hit back at the tactics and have said that such dirty politics will only harm the “world’s poorest.”