Number of Britons giving money to charity returns to 2008 levels

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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 per cent 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 per cent) have donated money in the last 12 months compared with seven in 10 men (70 per cent).

When similar research was carried out in 2012, just 62 per cent 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 per cent) of 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 per cent) in 2012.

The research found that national charities remain the most popular recipients of people’s donations. Nearly one-third (30 per cent) of donors said they had given money to a national health charity over the last year, compared with one in five (19 per cent) who had given cash to a local health charity.

More than one quarter (26 per cent) of donors had given money to a national children’s charity and just over one fifth (21 per cent) 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 per cent in January, marking the first time in four years that inflation has fallen below the Bank of England’s 2 per cent target. Inflation is expected to remain under two-per cent throughout 2014.

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