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Richest should give away a quarter of their wealth – research

20 April 2015

Britons think that the wealthiest in society should donate an average of 25% of their money to charity in the course of their lives, according to research released today by the Charities Aid Foundation.

More than half (53%) of people think wealthy people should give away more than they do.

Those identifying as non-Christian wanted to see the affluent donate an even larger proportion of their wealth, this group believing richer people should give nearly a third (32%) of their money away.

Over three-fifths (62%) agree that giving to charity by the more affluent sets a good example to others, and over two-fifths (46%) say the wealthy could help to increase giving by talking more about it.

The research is released just days before the Sunday Times Giving List reveals the UK’s top donors of the year.

People also welcome the idea of a UK version of the Giving Pledge, a US-born project spearheaded by Bill Gates and Warren Buffett asking wealthy individuals to commit to give away at least 50% of their wealth to good causes. Five British philanthropists have already committed to the pledge, including Richard Branson.

Just under half (43%) would like to see something similar in the UK, a number growing to 55% among 18-24 year-olds.

John Low, Chief Executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "There is growing awareness of inequality around the world, and it’s clear people believe the richest in society could help to address this problem by giving significant proportions of their wealth away to help those less fortunate."

“We see so many incredible examples of generosity by the world’s wealthiest, and movements such as the Giving Pledge are leading the way in opening up the conversation and bringing giving and charitable organisations into the public eye.

“Driving a project like this forward in the UK could help more philanthropists feel comfortable speaking out about their work with charities, and help further grow giving and support among the wealthy and the public.”

For the study 2,085 online interviews were conducted with UK consumers by Populus between 20-22 March 2015.

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