People donated a record £14,000,000,000 to charity last year | UK News


People donated a record £14,000,000,000 to charity last year | UK News

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Proportionally, lower-income Britons are more generous than the rich (Picture: Getty Images)

Right now, the only thing that feels consistent in life is that everything is expensive.

Or, at the very least, it really feels like it.

From rent and mortgages to council tax, energy bills and grocery costs, Britain has been in the tight grip of a cost of living crisis for years.

But even as some people struggle to keep roofs over their heads and food on the table, the British public donated a record £13.9 billion to charity in 2023.

And according to a new report, the nation’s poorest were among the most generous.

Average monthly donations now stand at £65, increasing by 40% compared to the year before, Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) found.

The number of pounds popped into donation buckets increased by 9% last year (Picture: Reuters)

Overall, Britons are giving back far more than they did in 2022 – up 9% from £12,700,000,000.

The most charitable part of the UK, according to the CAF, was Sheffield Hallam, where locals gave 3.2% of their household income to charitable causes.

Kensington and Bayswater, home to some of the wealthiest Londoners, came second but gave just 0.5% of their income.

Kensington is the richest borough in London, with the mean wage standing at £73,917, nearly double the average salary in the capital. According to official figures, one in four locals work in high managerial, administrative and professional occupations.

Meanwhile, givers in Belfast West, one of the most deprived parts of Northern Ireland where one in four children live in poverty, gave an average of 2.2% of their wages.

Constituencies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland gave more as a proportion of income compared to those in England, the CAF report said.

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The well-heeled west London neighbourhood of Kensington donates the second-highest amount to charity in the UK (Picture: PA)

However, the CAF, which works with companies, philanthropists and governments, said the number of donors has fallen compared to 2022.

People regularly donating to charity has fallen from 65% in 2019 to fewer than six in 10 (58%) last year.

Analysts said that rather than more people giving to charity, the amount people are donating instead has increased.

The aftershocks from the coronavirus pandemic and the cost of living crisis are placing ‘significant pressure’ on charities.

Three in four adults out of the 13,614 people polled online did at least one charitable activity in 2023, including donating, volunteering and sponsoring.

Neil Heslop, chief executive of CAF, said: ‘The act of giving connects us to one another in communities and across society: a more giving society can be one with a stronger social fabric.

‘But it’s concerning that we’re relying on a dwindling group of regular givers, and the typical donation is static and eroded by inflation.’

Studies have long shown that lower-income people give proportionally more from their monthly cheques to charity than the wealthiest.

In 2011, the Institute for Social Change found that the richest Britons gave an average £31.44 of their gross monthly income while the poorest gave £6.35. This translates to around 0.9% and 3.2% of their incomes respectively, however.

Some psychologists say this can be partly explained by cash-strapped people being more likely to witness the misery caused by poverty that charities work to prevent.

For Heslop, though fewer people can chip in the pounds to charities these days, how those who can are donating more shows how united the country can be.

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‘For these reasons, we need to foster a more widespread and sustainable culture of giving to support charities that are squeezed from all sides,’ he said.

‘The vital next step is for government to harness charitable giving for every part of the UK, by committing to drawing up a national strategy for philanthropy and charitable giving, ideally as part of a renewed approach to the whole of civil society.’

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