Friday, February 16, 2007

Fewer People Give to Charity Under Labour

The Economist follows up Tony Blair's philanthropy speech yesterday with a big feature on the issue headlined BRING BACK THE VICTORIANS. It tells us that the most generous towns in England are Sunderland, Motherwell and Blackpool, and the meanest are Croydon, Ilford and Kingston-upon-Thames. Is it a coindence that the former are all in the North and the latter are all in the South?!

The graph also shows that Britain is far more generous than other major European countries when it comes to philanthropy, but way behind the United States. But the right hand graph is possibly even more illuminating. It shows that since Labour came to power the number of people giving to charity has fallen by 12% from 70% to 58%. This could be for a number of reasons I suppose, but according to The Economist "a study, by the Institute for Philanthropy, a lobbying group, shows that the bulk of all giving is done by a discrete group who go to church, identify with one of the main political parties and read a broadsheet (quality) newspaper, all of which have become minority pursuits. Those who do give have to donate more to make up for the decline in their numbers."


ian said...
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Mostly Ordinary said...

That's because I'm trying to make up the cash greedy Gordon is pinching off me.

Anonymous said...

How could you trust a survey that places Motherwell in ENGLAND?

Anonymous said...

Ermm...maybe something to do with the fact that Gordo has stolen the money from peoples pockets to bribe his jobsworthy accolytes ???

Anonymous said...

It does show a slump since 2004.

I think in 2004 the UK public got a a bit of charity fatigue.

After all, when The Smith Institute gets charity status - you have to start rooting out the real charities from the fraudsters.

Then the Charity Commission threatens to bang up somebody like Guido who makes a complaint - well you start to suspect the whole thing is rotten to the core and the charity status thing needs revisting.

Chris Paul said...

Ermmm ... more likely a complete ignoring of giving via the Lottery which has of course been a feature of these times in all sorts of ways but which will not count as giving in the same way ... and a complete ignoring of corporate giving and CSR ... and a complete ignoring of volunteering as giving which is also upwards.

Perhaps of course people are so grossed by the fact that eton College and Policy Exchange are registered charities that they are giving to unregistered beggars and other do-gooders, or TRADING with charities - again probably ignored.

We expect over-simplicity from CCHQ-blogsville but we're surprised at The Economist.

Roger Thornhill said...

If we had low, flat taxes in the utimate sense people would have more to give.

If you remove the concept of "Charitable Status" entirely, then oleagenous creeps with plastic skin and teflon hair cannot get their dirty fingernails into "the third sector" by using that status as a means to threaten them into jumping through goverment policy and "social justice" hoops.

Controvertial, I know, but the less the State has a hold over people and entities, the less corrupt they can be. A gatekeeper to "charitable status" is precisely what Miliband wants.

That said, it is VERY UPSETTING that we see yet another sector of society polluted by this current herd - how nice it would have been for Charities to remain innocent. But what do you expect when this government is raping our institutions and buggering the constitution like The Red Army heading West.

Anonymous said...

The problem may lie with the large proportion of ethnic minorities and immigrants in those areas. Kingston upon Thames is suffering from large scale Eastern European immigration.

Anonymous said...

I remember the Lotto was supposed to help charities ,like helping to provide football fields for the kids ,also could be the charities advertising on tv.

Anonymous said...

Did you know why the take-charitable-status-away-from-private-schools thing folded? Seems that someone noticed that private schools give more away in bursaries and scholarships than some quite right-on charities.... Quite a number of which are a nice career for the management with a bit of charity with the spare change left at the end of the month.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat surprising that a little Englander like you Iain should think that Motherwell is in England :-)

Anonymous said...

'kingston-on-thames is suffering [sic] from...eastern european immigration' - what planet are you from ?? Would you be so rude if it was Scottish people moving there ? Or Welsh ? Or Irish ? Stop being so bloody prejudiced. Thirty years ago you would have been the one saying 'There goes the neighbourhood..'

Grow up !!!"!

David Lindsay said...

Anonymous 11:08, you don't remember any such thing. You just think that you do, in the way that people think that they remember that the EU was once "a free trade area" called "the Common Market", or that privatisation was supposed to be about competetition, or that National Insurance was a contributory pension scheme, or that the abolition of capital punishment meant that "life would mran life", or that Labour was not going to put up taxes at all after the 1997 Election, or a whole host of other things that everyone seems to remember but which no politician has ever actually been on record as saying.

Croydonian said...

I'll have you know I bought a poppy for Remembrance Sunday.

Laban said...

In the States, Republican voters, though poorer than Democrats, give more to charity.

Anonymous said...

Iain. British IHT permits those deceased to reduce their taxable estate by donations to registered charities.

Other tax jurisdictions do not.

Germany has exceedingly tight definitions of charitable institutions and even corporations can only donate to institutions of "educational or scientific" merit.

Most of European polities did not want independent centres of power funded independently of the State

Anonymous said...

It would be interesting to see Tax as a percentage of GDP included in the graph. Could your CIA Christian Fundamentalist paymasters oblige?

Anonymous said...

I don't give to charity now since the whole charity movement in Britain seems to have acquired political overtones. A few years ago a small charity I supported which provided information on oxygen therapy closed down after threats and bullying from the Charities Commission. Also I've noticed that most charities in Britain these days seem to have Cherie Blair as their patron, which puts me right off.

Anonymous said...


Of course I've stopped giving to charity, howvere I hope you're not insinuating that people in the south are any less generous than those in the north. Let me exaplin why. I live in kingston upon thames, I read a broadsheet and I identify with a political party. I earn an ordinary salary and live in an ordinary house. Council tax this year will be around £1500.00. Mortgage payments increase as interest rates rise. It seems to me at the moment if I stick my head out of my fromt door I'm coughing up a fiver here or a tenner there for some level of nothing.. Over the past few years I've had to cancel any charity giving to pay for GB's largesse.

What we need to see is the ratio of disposable income to charitable giving for each of the towns..

Also anyone blaming immigration is talking out of their arse.

best rgds

Anonymous said...

"Would you be so rude if it was Scottish people moving there ? Or Welsh ? Or Irish ? Stop being so bloody prejudiced."

Well, I can't answer for 'thatcherite', but personally I would be a bit less rude if it was Irish, quite a lot less rude if it was Scots, and hardly rude at all if it was Welsh.

Stop hating the English and go and live in Cuba.

Anonymous said...

The Economist has a nerve and needs to come out of its ivory tower into the real world.

Take a look at relative house prices, cost of living indexes, disposable income indexes and it is clear that people in Scotland and, the Midlands and the North are much better off and have more disposable income than those of us in the South, London and the South East in particular.

My brother in the Midlands paid £100k for a 4 bed detached house in the same year I paid £230K for a small, semi cottage in Essex. His council tax, food & clothes & other costs of living are all significantly less than mine - and he earns about the same as me.

Generosity isn't the issue. The North and Scotland give more to charity because they're better off.

Anonymous said...

This is too much to take on a Saturday morning.

My daughter, aged 24, is still living at home because she can't afford to rent or buy in the South East. She and I are just about to attend - yet another - public meeting re the countless thousands of expensive houses to be dumped - without infrastuctural support and with yet more local finance cuts - on my, already high housing density, town (Harlow) by nulab.

I love the Economist for their article some years ago postulating that Blair was mentally abnormal. Yet how dare they suggest that we in the South East are mean when we are subsidising the whole country with money we can ill afford and through our over crowded misery!

Every other part of the country is better off than the majority of us in the South East and I'm sick of hearing claims to the contrary.

Sorry I forgot my blog name from the last anon posting.

Auntie Flo'

CityUnslicker said...

Croydonian famously won't even buy a round in the pub; so this report tallies with my anecdotal evidence.

Anonymous said...

It does seem to me that Americans are generous people. All churches, pretty much, are charities here and there's some pretty heavy giving to them. I am not sure if that's included (it seems that it would be) and I am unsure whether that is the same sort of thing as 'gving to good causes' which is the implied interest here. British people aren't so keen on going to church.

It is true that church money does, in part, go to good causes. How much, I imagine, varies from church to church (some of them must be relatively expensive in terms of upkeep).

What's interesting is that the chart suggests that, before the decline from 2004, the British might have been comparable to the US. I know that when the tsunami hit in the Indian Ocean, the British people gave a startling amount of money (didn't Blair promise to match it? That must have made him a bit nervous as he watched it rise).

Wrinkled Weasel said...

Charities are an example of how people can exercise choice in how they use their disposable income. Ironically, charities were most significant in an era when the government didn't concern itself with poverty,etc, unless their was an accompanying threat of insurrection, and even then the remedy was to shoot people, not feed them.

Nowadays the Government concerns itself with every aspect of our lives and charities are no exeption.

When we give, we don't want to be told that Lesbians and Gays must be represented or that Christians are not eligible because they might cause offence to Lesbians and Gays, or that Muslims must be included, because, even though they destest Lesbians and Gays, they are ethnically vulnerable, despite wishing to overthrow the law of the land and replace it with their own which includes stoning to death Lesbians and Gays.

You would have thought that giving is one of the last acts of free-will we can engage in,according to our inner prejudices and foibles, but no.

Is it any wonder people are fatigued? It is not charity we lack it is freedom to express our personal preferences without the heavy hand of the thought police.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if they _have_ included lottery tickets?

Motherwell is not a well off leafy suburb by any stretch of the imagination. Its mostly call centres these days after Ravenscraig was closed. And, yes, its in SCOTLAND, Iain.

Anonymous said...

Would it be facetious to point out that you should be campaigning to get people going to church again if you want to increase charitable giving ?

Rather than just using this as an excuse to kick Labour and promote the Tories. Unless of course, that was your point all along in this post..

Anonymous said...

Tax as a percentage of GDP included in the graph

That's easy but you should include the deficit too since that is currently unlevied tax

I never understand why people get overheated about charitable giving. Not all of it is captured by the Grant Aid statistics because much of it is in cash, and much in time and voluntary action.

If we could get away from Charity being classified as just another spending choice it would be healthier.

Americans give huge amounts of overseas aid through private donations exceeding what the US Govt gives through US Aid and WFP.

In Europe much of the overseas aid is simply Govt aid through the EU. I doubt most people would see the Palestinians as deserving recipients of the largest per capita aid donations on the planet when people in Zimbabwe and Darfur starve...but our govts spend aid in this way.

When Cecil Rhodes fellow De Beers director Alfred Beit died he left his money to aid in Rhodesia for roads, bridges, hospitals, schools - I think Tiny Rowland's widow might have done something similar.....but look how easily Mugabe can turn it all to waste

Nich Starling said...

Of course less people give to charity now.

Under the Tories the only way your hospital got a scanner is if fundraisers raised the money. The children's wards in Norwich used to rely on donations to get the palce decorated, the NHS and a whole range of services under the Tories relied on charity fundraising.

Thanks goodness we are now beyond that.

Man in a Shed said...

It seems that everyone (The Labour party, Lib Dems and now David Cameron ) are in a rush to ditch uncool Christians, party activists (weird nutters likely to join UKIP) and chattering class people.

It also appears they have been the main groups of people who cared for the country.

So we have to question the wisdom of attacking those groups of people - especially the religious charities. The alternatives are either hedonism or socialism - and the poor, old and sick do badly with both.

Rich Tee said...

A survey published in Metro a few months ago said it was a myth that London is more expensive and anecdotal evidence confirms this in my mind. On my visits to London clothes and food seemed to be the same price or cheaper than Leeds.

True, accommodation is more expensive but salaries are higher - many employers specifically have a "London weighting". I have personally known several people who moved to London because they felt they would be better off.

If London was really more expensive than elsewhere then you would expect the population to be more evenly spaced throughout Britain due to the price mechanism (people moving to cheaper areas) unless of course, heaven forbid, people are ignoring the economists and behaving irrationally.

Anonymous said...

Iain - I have reason to believe that I am one of the authors of the Institute for Philanthropy piece. I cannot seem to get anything on the Economist's website without registering. Could you provide me with a link to their piece or information on which edition it is in?

Many thanks,

Julian H

Anonymous said...

"Thank goodness we are now beyond that". Yer 'avin a laff, Norfolk Blogger: any time now the friends of your local hospital will be asking you for a donation to put every second light bulb back in!

Anonymous said...

Myself my company and various business accociates from 86-96 donated to and organised large funding events for the NSPCC. We on average raised several times more then simular events run by people like Richard Branson.

We stopped bothering when we found out that the NSPCC was not dealing with any problems of child abuse themselves but was simply acting as refuring agents for state social services.

The reason why a lot of small companies long ago stopped giving to charity. Is that they are having more then enough problems paying the rent and wages for their staff.

Anonymous said...

Found a link to OECD figures for tax as a percentage of GDP (PDF)

There isn't the clear correlation between rising taxes and declining giving in the UK figures I thought there might be.

Anonymous said...
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