There is a widespread – and understandable – assumption that as the economic situation has worsened and competition for both charitable and statutory grants has intensified, people have cut back substantially on their charitable giving.

In fact, a report by the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) concludes that although giving levels have declined in recent years, these did not decline further during 2023 and 58% of the population either gave or sponsored; and 75% undertook some form of charitable activity. That represents some 40 million people across the UK.

An interesting and perhaps unexpected feature of the CAF report was the fact that of the 10 constituencies giving the most in 2023, 9 were either in London or Northern Ireland. However, this statistic masks the fact that London as a whole is the least generous of the UK’s capital cities, donating on average 1.3% of household income in comparison with Edinburgh (1.8%), Cardiff (2.1%) and Belfast (2.5%). So although people living in certain London constituencies such as Kensington and Bayswater, Finchley and Golders Green and Chipping Barnet are very generous, those living in many other of the capital’s constituencies are much less so.

Another interesting fact highlighted by the report is that the proportion of donations going to overseas aid and disaster relief halved from the 2022 high of 14% to 7% in 2023. However, this drop was matched by a welcome increase in giving to charities supporting disabled people, which more than doubled from 3% in 2022 to 7% in 2023.

CAF helpfully summarises recommendations for both donors and charities at the end of its report. Particularly welcome is their support for small charities and their suggestion that large national charities should partner with local charities in areas with higher need where their causes are similar.