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Charitable giving reflects North-South divide in the economic recovery

18 April 2014

Britain faces a North-South divide in charitable giving, reflecting the broader regional divide in the economic recovery, according to research released today by CAF.

In a poll, people in the South East were nearly twice as likely (11%) to be increasing their charitable support over the next 12 months than Northerners (6%).

When asked about their spending plans in other areas, such as how much they plan to spend on their holidays or on leisure activities, a higher percentage of adults in the South East say that they are likely to increase their spending than those in the North. 22% of people in the South East say they are likely to increase their spending on holidays, compared to 16% in the North, and 14% of people in the South East plan to spend more on leisure activities compared to 10% of Northerners.

Other areas outside the South East are also less optimistic about their charitable giving in the year ahead. In Wales and the South West only 4% of residents say that they plan to increase their charitable giving over the next 12 months, with far more expecting to decrease their charitable giving (20%).

The research also found that overall people say they are more likely to increase their spending on holidays and clothes than increase their charitable support over the next 12 months. 19% of British people say that they expect to pay more for holidays and 13% say that they plan to increase their spending on clothes, while only 8% of British people say they expect to donate more to charity.

Despite this, people are reluctant to cut back on their charitable giving, with people being more likely to say that they will decrease their spending on takeaways (30% say they plan to decrease spending in this area) and going out for a drink (25%) than on charity donations (18%).

Young people are also more optimistic about their charitable giving in 2014 than the older generations. 18% of those aged 18-24 say they plan to increase their giving over the next 12 months, compared with only 3% of those aged 45-54.

The survey by pollsters ComRes also found:

  • The main reason why people say they plan to increase their spending on charities is because they expect their financial situation to improve over the next 12 months (31%).
  • Groceries (30%) are the expense the greatest proportion of people say they expect to increase over the next 12 months, followed by holidays (19%), clothes (13%), leisure activities (11%) and takeaways (11%), going out for a drink (9%), watching or participating in a sport (8%) and charitable donations (8%).

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: “It is encouraging that so many people are planning to maintain or increase their charitable giving this year.

“Although there are glimmers of hope in the economy, many of us don’t feel any the richer for it and this is particularly true outside of London and the South East. It’s clear from our findings there is a North-South divide in the economic recovery, reflected in people’s attitudes to charitable giving.

“Across the UK people are reluctant to reduce their giving to charity and would prefer to cut their spending on takeaways or drinks. This shows that, despite the difficult economic circumstances, British people are incredibly generous and charitable.”

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