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How much does overseas aid cost us?

You may have seen lately that there have been a number of stories in the news about the UK aid budget. I was on BBC’s Newsnight this week talking about this very issue.  And it’s important the public know what their investment is delivering for the poorest people in the world.

Nobody is saying that there aren’t problems with some aid, and of course we want it to be better. But the fact is that smart aid is working. It provides a route out of poverty by helping to create the conditions for economic growth, a healthy and educated workforce, better infrastructure and more effective governance.

In the financial year 2009/10 alone, UK aid paid for nearly 5 million people to be vaccinated against measles, delivered 9 million antimalarial bednets, provided over 1.5 million people with clean water, and ensured over 15 million people had enough food to eat.

From 1999 to 2010, education enrollment rates for primary school increased by 50.7 million in sub-Saharan Africa as a result of African leadership on education, backed by debt cancellation and increased aid, including from Britain.

Of course one question is – how much does this cost?

The answer is just over a penny in every pound of government spending. But if you want to know what that means to you – how much you have contributed towards these remarkable achievements – we have put together a handy tax calculator for you to try out.

Where does my tax go? use our tax calculator to find out

Simply pop your salary into the calculator (don’t worry, that information doesn’t go anywhere!) and it will tell you how much of your tax went towards the aid budget in 2010-11 and what it will have achieved.

You might be pleasantly surprised.