76% donate 'as much as before 2008'

Updated: 

Donation box isolated on white

More than three-quarters of Britons are giving the same amounts to charity or more than they were before the economic downturn struck, in further signs that consumer confidence is improving, according to research.

Some 76% of people surveyed for Halifax who have made donations in the past year said the sums of money they gave were either at the same levels as they were before 2008 or that they were being more generous.

Nearly eight in 10 women (79%) have donated money in the last 12 months compared with seven in 10 men (70%).

When similar research was carried out in 2012, just 62% of people said the level of their donations was the same or more than before the downturn.

Three-quarters of more than 2,000 people surveyed last month said they had given money to charities in the last 12 months. Just one in six (16%) people said they had given less to charity than before the financial crisis because they could not afford it, dropping from more than one quarter (26%) in 2012.

The research found that national charities remain the most popular recipients of people's cash, continuing a trend seen in previous surveys. Nearly one third (30%) of donors said they had given money to a national health charity over the last year, compared with one in five (19%) who said they had given cash to a local health charity.

More than one quarter (26%) of donors had given money to a national children's charity and just over one fifth (21%) had put their cash towards a national animal welfare charity.

Anthony Warrington, director of current accounts, Halifax, said: "Many families have seen their finances come under pressure since the economic downturn, but it's encouraging the upturn in the economy is now being mirrored in an increase in the level of charitable giving by consumers."

The findings come amid signs that the squeeze on households' budgets from living costs is starting to weaken. The Consumer Prices Index (CPI) rate of inflation dipped to 1.9% in January, marking the first time in four years that inflation has fallen below the Bank of England's 2% target.

Economists forecast that inflation will remain under the 2% target throughout 2014, raising hopes that wage growth will finally overtake rises in the cost of living.

As well as consumer research, the Halifax review was also compiled from a range of statistics, including data from the Office for National Statistics, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Charities Aid Foundation.

A global "giving index" recently released by the Charities Aid Foundation named the UK as the "sixth most charitable nation in the world".

The index is based on surveys in 135 countries and takes into account the percentage of people who give money to charity, volunteer their time or help a stranger.

Hannah Terrey, head of policy and campaigns at the Charities Aid Foundation, said: "Any indication that people feel able to increase their support for the causes they care about is fantastic news.

"In Britain we have a proud record of supporting charitable causes. Many charities doing vital work in the community rely on the consistent support of people across the country.

"Our research shows that the UK is one of the most generous countries in the world and first in Europe for giving hard-earned money to good causes."

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