Donations raised through payroll giving rose by 3 per cent last year to £130m, but they still have not regained the levels reached in 2013/14, according to provisional figures published by HM Revenue & Customs.
HMRC figures, published today, show that the total amount raised through payroll giving in the UK in 2015/16 increased by £4m on the previous year.
But despite the increase, the figures for last year and 2013/14 were both down on the £134m donated in 2013/14 and the record high of £155m donated in 2012/13.
The latest figures, which are based on returns supplied by payroll-giving agencies, show that an estimated 19,000 more people gave to charity through their payroll in 2015/16 than in the previous year – a rise of 1.7 per cent to 1,113,000.
The annual cost to the Treasury of income tax relief caused by payroll giving has remained stable for the past five years at £40m, although this figure is rounded to the nearest £10m.
In a document published with the figures, HMRC says there appeared to have been some "vacillation" in the amounts donated through payroll giving over the past four years, but this was mainly due to an isolated change in giving patterns among the larger payroll-giving schemes.
Like last year, it says caution should be taken when comparing this year’s figures with previous years as improvements in monitoring the data meant they were not directly comparable.
The document says an audit programme focusing on the processes used by payroll-giving agencies was being prepared. "There are presently no perceived issues around data quality, but there have in the past been issues around discontinued donors and pooled funds," it says.
The rising figures come despite the closure in December of the professional fundraising organisation Workplace Giving, whose initiatives included funding the Geared For Giving campaign to encourage more employers to promote payroll giving.
Linda Cohen, Geared For Giving’s campaign manager, said in April that she was frustrated more MPs were not signed up to payroll giving, saying they should lead the way in doing so.
She said figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act showed that only 10 new MPs signed up to the scheme in the 12 months to April 2016, bringing the total to 27, or 4 per cent of all MPs.