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Budget 2012

Posted by Charlie Matthews on 21 March 2012

There was no mention at all of international aid in today’s Budget statement by Chancellor George Osborne. That’s actually great news: the UK is already on track to keep its promise to spend 0.7% of GNI on overseas development by 2013.

That 0.7% makes a huge difference to people living in poverty around the world. A new report from ONE shows just what that money will achieve – for example, educating an incredible 15.9 million children.

People in the UK are incredibly generous and supportive of aid in general – as demonstrated by the recent record-breaking Financial Times/Sightsavers Christmas appeal. But in a time of economic crisis, there have been growing questions over the effectiveness of aid and where it sits as a priority. Sightsavers and others involved in international development have argued that for a tiny percentage of all government spending, the aid budget has a huge impact.

Now, it seems the Treasury is going to help us make our case.

One of the announcements in George Osborne’s budget was that every taxpayer will in future receive an annual tax statement, showing them exactly how much tax they paid over the year and what it was spent on. The Daily Mail has done the maths, and shown that overseas aid costs the average earner in the UK just £56.74 a year – or £1.09 a week.

A pound a week, to be a part of vaccinating 80 million children; making 5.8 million births safer; and, appropriate in run-up to World Water Day, providing 17 million people with safe water. That’s amazing value, and something we feel everyone in the UK can be really proud of.

Please note that Sightsavers' blog posts are the opinions of the author and contributors, meant to encourage debate and discussion, and not Sightsavers' official policy positions, which can be found here.

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