Current trends in development finance place private finance centre stage to close the so-called financing gap needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). But the provision of universal, quality public services, critical to protecting human rights and meeting the SDGs, is put at risk by this policy approach. In turn, the normalisation of austerity worldwide is eroding the policy space available to states to meet development ambitions, at a time when fiscal space is being constrained by rising debt vulnerabilities. These trends are interacting to pose serious risks to states’ finances and their peoples. This is the first report in a series of Eurodad analyses to shed light on the human impact of market-based solutions, policy guidelines, debt crises, and austerity policies.