CAMPAIGN HIGHLIGHTS: Gift Aid loss

The Giving Campaign has enlisted TV presenter Davina McCall to tell the public that charities are set to miss out on £135m this month as donors fail to use Gift Aid with their Christmas donations.

This year's campaign takes a stronger line than last year's, which focused more on the positive effects of Gift Aid and mentioned the comparative £107m loss only in passing.

The campaign sent a letter signed by McCall to 120 regional newspapers on Monday to try to get its message across to a wide cross-section of the public. About a third of those same papers ran the story last year.

The £135m figure derives from the £1bn that people donated to charity last December, a month when people are twice as generous than usual, and the fact that only 20 per cent of people use Gift Aid.

Meanwhile, the amount raised from payroll giving, another tax-effective giving scheme, has more than doubled since the introduction of the Government's 10 per cent supplement on donations in 2000.

New figures from the Charities Aid Foundation show that receipts from payroll giving increased from £37m in 1999-2000, before the 10 per cent supplement and removal of the £1,200 ceiling on donations, to £86m this year. The number of donors rose from 413,000 to 520,000 in the same period.

CAF's figures do not include money from the Children's Promise, the campaign that encouraged employees to give their last hour's pay of the Millennium to seven children's charities, which raised £18.5m.

CAF director of research Cathy Pharoah said: "Our new analysis shows that there has been a steady growth in donors and employers underlying these figures. We adjusted trends for the effect of the one-off Children's Promise scheme, which artificially inflated the figures for the year 2000 and 2001, and led some people to think that there had been a fall in participation after the tax changes."

CAF has sent the new figures to the Chancellor to encourage him to extend the 10 per cent supplement beyond its current end-date of April next year.

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