A UK taxpayer earning £30,000 per year will pay £7,065 in tax. Of that, £67 will go to the aid budget and £403 towards defence. That leaves £6,595 for everything else. A proper debate about government spending should surely recognise that pitching defence spending against aid is like robbing a pretty hard-up Peter to pay an even more impoverished Paul.
This week Comic Relief celebrated its 25th anniversary and as we look back over the years, there is a lot to be proud of. For the past quarter of a century, Comic Relief has inspired people up and down the country to play a part in changing the lives of millions of people across Africa for the better.
Our Olympic and Paralympic heroes deserved every bit of the great parade we saw last week. But why didn't this celebration happen again yesterday? That's when the UN announced that the number of children dying each year under the age of five has fallen by 41% since 1990. While 12 million died in 1990, just under seven million lives were lost in 2011. That's 14,000 a day less than were dying in 1990. The progress made in reducing child deaths must be one of the biggest success stories of the last decade. Yet there was no tickertape parade.
It is only by investing in both water and sanitation that the full health benefits of these services will be realised for the world's poorest people. We know that diarrhoea is the single biggest killer of children in sub-Saharan Africa and on current trends it will be around 200 years before Africa has universal access to both water and sanitation.
David Ojok was walking home from school when the gunmen came for him. He was just 13 and was taken prisoner before being inducted into Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army. Led by self-proclaimed messiah Joseph Kony, the rebel group inflicted unimaginable suffering during two decades of violence in Africa's longest running civil conflict. David, now 18, was one of 60,000 children abducted by the LRA - trapped in a terrifying limbo - in fear for his life with little hope of a future free from violence. Summoning incredible bravery, the teenager escaped his captors and is now looking ahead to a brighter future as a brick layer with training supported by British aid.