News from Cass Business School

The Big Challenge for Giving

Big Society will be dependent on giving in local communities

Wednesday, 8 September, 2010

In a climate of growing political emphasis on charitable activity at local levels, new research comparing long-term patterns of regional giving in the UK reveals a marked variation largely due to households on higher incomes being more likely to give to charity. This means that in poorer areas, fewer people give.

The research compares long-term regional trends for the first time and shows that regional giving variation is due to income variation.  Professor Cathy Pharoah, Co-Director of the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy at Cass, compared how far charitable giving by UK households varied across the regions; the importance of income in explaining differences in regions; and how trends in regional charitable giving compared with other forms of giving.  Professor Pharoah commented:

"These results show that because participation in giving is likely to be lower in the poorer parts of the country, the challenge for building Big Society and developing community resources may be greater in just those areas where help and support is most needed. People should be encouraged to contribute in response to greatest need and not only to their own neighbourhood."

The research, based on data on over 50,000 households from the ONS Living Costs and Food Survey from 2001-2008, revealed the following:

o Households in Northern Ireland are twice as likely to donate, regardless of income, as those located in Wales, the West Midlands, and North East England, where only 25.1% recorded making a gift to charity.  However, proportionately more households in Northern Ireland donate to charity, regardless of income which reflects an historically strong culture of giving there.

o More households in Scotland and southern and eastern England give to charity compared with the East Midlands, North West England, and Yorkshire and Humberside.

o Sub-regional analysis of London show that the population tends to rank in the middle in terms of giving, with 28.5% of households giving to charity.  A further breakdown of figures reveals that donors in north-west London tend to give more, in absolute terms and as a proportion of their total expenditure at2.17% compared to 1.395 in south-east London.  Households in London are also more likely to send money abroad than in any other region, but between 2001 and 2008 there was a marked rise in the East Midlands and Eastern England, and this may be accounted for by the increase in migrant workers from Eastern Europe who settled in and around London when the EU expanded in 2004 and 2007.

Read the full report, 'UK household giving - new results on regional trends 2001 - 2008' by Professor Cathy Pharoah and Tom McKenzie

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