- Available in: Print and PDF
- Published: March 1, 2009
The UK has had a tremendous record of charitable giving, inspired largely by the work of Victorian philanthropists. The introduction of the welfare state reduced the relative level of giving, and our tax system has often been blamed for not incentivising giving enough. Government measures taken in the decade preceding the recession went some way to turning this around, but the impact of the downturn is likely to reverse these gains. It is against this background that this report has been written, taking forward the debate on modern philanthropy which the Smith Institute has pursued in different ways over the past two years. With charitable legacies worth almost £2 billion, they are of immense importance to both the third sector and the beneficiaries of charitable work. However, the impact of the downturn is likely to have considerable negative repercussions for legacy giving. With house and share prices falling, and with many donations made as a percentage of a legator’s estate, the outcome is likely to be that charities receive a smaller absolute, if not proportional, amount. The seriousness of the recession is as yet unknown, but the authors outline possible ways that the sector can weather the gathering economic storm and prepare for sunnier time.