The government has urged middle earners to donate more to charity as part of David Cameron’s plans for his vision of a “Big Society”.
Figures suggest that poorer donors currently give more to charity as a proportion of their income than wealthier households. Mr Cameron has unveiled a whitepaper on giving and volunteering that will include a series of commitments to increase the ease with which employees can donate to good causes.
Britons are already among the most generous givers in the world, privately donating some 0.73% of GDP to charity.
The government plans to increase the number of employees giving to charity through company payrolls and encourage shops and restaurants to launch “round the pound” schemes, in which customers agree to round up their bills to the nearest pound and donate odd pennies of change to charity.
The coalition has struck an deal with the LINK network, which manages the UK’s network of ATM machines, to coincide with the launch of the white paper. LINK announced plans for people to be able to donate to charities at ATMs from 2012.
Graham Mott, senior LINK spokesman said: “The research LINK has already done with YouGov shows that 43% of people who use a cash machine at least once a fortnight said they would sometimes use an ATM to make a donation; while regular ATM users and young people in particular seem really to like the idea and say they would use ATMs to make regular donations.
“With more than 10 million LINK ATM transactions a day, this is a real opportunity to raise significant sums of money for good causes”.
Tessa Jowell, shadow cabinet minister, criticised Mr Cameron’s “fourth relaunch” of his Big Society project: “Soaring political speeches like this may get headlines, but in practice this rhetoric is contradicted by this government’s actions.
“Under the indiscriminate impact of accelerated cuts the essential elements of community life are slowly being starved of sustenance. What we lose in the next two years may become impossible to rebuild in 10.”