There's a mistaken belief that giving foreign aid is an act of pure altruism - that one country gives money to another because it simply wants to help those who are less fortunate.
The real reason, of course, is less idealistic - we give foreign aid for humanitarian reasons, certainly, but there must be more to it than that - we want developing countries to trade with us, and we want their growing industries to use our banking and financial services industries.
The arguments about the extent to which our aid payments ultimately benefit our exporters have raged for decades, and opinions tend to be polarised - you either think it's a good policy or you don't. Arguing that if money wasn't spent on foreign aid it would all go towards hospitals and the education system is hardly valid.
In 2011 we spent 0.56% of our Gross National Income on foreign aid - a figure that equates to about £137 per head of population. Many people think that is far too much during a period of austerity, and others think it is money well spent. It's very much a question of your personal view - either you believe in the policy or you don't, but if you don't, you shouldn't believe that the money would automatically go to schools and hospitals, or that it would be there at all.
If we hadn't spent on aid in the past our exporters might not be getting the orders, and that would mean less tax income for the government, fewer jobs for British workers, and possibly higher benefit payments.... or so the counter argument goes.