Rich give smaller slice of pay to good causes

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The Independent Online

Wealthy Britons behave like misers towards good causes, according to new research showing that the poor give a greater slice of their income to charity than the rich.

A survey published today by the Social Market Foundation, a leading think-tank, confirmed the finding after research into the donors of 10 of Britain's biggest charities.

Those with incomes under £5,000 donated on average £108 a year, or 4.3 per cent. Those with incomes of £20,000-£25,000 donated £503, or 2.3 per cent, while those on incomes of £40,000 or more gave £784, just 1.9 per cent. The "regressive giving" pattern is roughly the same regardless of the age, sex, education and religious affiliation of the donors.

The picture would be even more iniquitous but for the skewing effect of a small number of huge donations by the super-rich, the survey found.

Beth Egan, deputy director of the think-tank, said: "We live in a society where the rich are given a plaque in their honour if they donate £1,000, a tiny percentage of their income. But at the same time the pensioner who sends off a fiver, with a note apologising that it's not more, is not recognised at all."