Government urged to foster stronger giving culture

5 March 2012

The Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) has called on the Government to help create a stronger culture of giving - on the day (Monday 5 March) that the National Council for Voluntary Organisations publishes the UK Civil Society Almanac, its annual state of the sector study.

The Almanac shows a charity sector struggling with the worst recession for 50 years - as it faces increased demand for services, rising costs and an unprecedented fall in income.

According to the Almanac, charities were hit by £2.3 billion in rising costs as a result of inflation between 2008 and 2010. Meanwhile over the past year, more than 70,000 posts in the sector have been lost.

CAF Head of Policy Hannah Terrey said: "Demand for charity services is up, while government funding is down. This means that money from voluntary donations is even more important.

"However, the ongoing squeeze on household incomes is increasingly affecting the public’s ability to give.

"In 2010/11, nearly 60% of people donated to charity, but the value of their donations was worth £1bn less than the amount given in 2007/08, the year before the UK entered recession.

"As a result of the funding squeeze, a growing number of charities are struggling to deliver their vitally important services."

She added: "The Government must acknowledge just how hard the situation has become for charities and give them more support – otherwise its ambition for a Big Society may not be realised.

"Ministers need to help create an even stronger culture of giving in the UK by being more vocal about their own giving to charity, encouraging the very wealthy to give more, and persuading businesses to support charities in a more consistent way.

"The Government could also increase income to the sector by simplifying the gift aid scheme, allowing people to make a one off declaration instead of making them sign up every time they donate."

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