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Charitable Giving

Volume 577: debated on Wednesday 12 March 2014

Three quarters of British people give money to charity, and on that measure, we are the most generous of all the G8 countries. Collectively, in 2010-11 we gave £16.5 billion to charity through direct and indirect donations, and with active Government support. I am delighted to say that the amount of giving appears to have remained constant since 2010, despite difficult times. I am sure that that is something that the whole House will welcome.

Indeed it is. The Minister will be aware of the good things that we can achieve through “round the pound” schemes, and I know that he, like me, is a fan of the organisation Pennies. Will he therefore back my “Winchester penny” idea? The aim is to support the third sector in my constituency by encouraging local businesses, including those that are part of national chains, to join Winchester’s efforts to ensure that we keep it local and support those who are most in need.

I wholeheartedly support my hon. Friend’s initiative. I know that he is a great champion of the voluntary sector in Winchester. We are great fans of Pennies, which is one of the organisations that we have supported through our innovation in giving fund, and which is modernising the way in which we can make micro-donations. I am delighted that my hon. Friend has launched his initiative in Winchester. I congratulate him on his leadership, and congratulate all the businesses that he has so far succeeded in signing up to what seems an excellent initiative.

More and more younger donors are choosing to make their charitable donations by text, yet this group of people are being woefully failed in terms of Gift Aid. Will the Minister look into this, so that Gift Aid support is available for donors who give by text?

I wholly understand the hon. Lady’s point. People are giving in new ways, harnessing the power of new technology. One of the challenges we face is how we can help to make giving easy and compelling in the modern age. She will be aware that we work very hard with our colleagues at the Treasury to try to modernise Gift Aid, such as by making it easier to claim Gift Aid on small donations, and she will be aware that there is an active consultation on how we modernise Gift Aid in the digital world, including how we can harness it to support text-giving.