Lisa Nandy, the shadow children’s minister, has said it is no surprise that the current generation of young people are less likely to give to charity.
A report last month from the Charities Aid Foundation found that more than half of all donations to charities now came from the over-60s, compared with just over a third 30 years ago.
Speaking at a fringe event organised by CAF at the Labour Party conference in Manchester yesterday, Nandy said that the unprecedented financial pressures faced by young people in areas such as tuition fees should not be forgotten and that it was no surprise the current generation of young people were less likely to give to charity.
"It is unrealistic for us to set up expectations that we can resolve this problem for charities without addressing these wider issues for young people," she said.
CAF warned of a potential looming "donation deficit" if action was not taken to ensure that younger generations matched the generosity of those born between 1925 and 1945 and in the post-war baby boom between 1945 and 1966.
However, academics including Beth Breeze of the University of Kent’s Centre for Philanthropy, Humanitarianism and Social Justice and Cathy Pharoah, professor of charity funding at Cass Business School, have already questioned the findings.
Sarah Smith, a panellist and author of the report, said during the debate that her conclusions were not meant to single out those in their 20s and 30s and that donations were also lower among those in their 40s and 50s.
Seb Elsworth, director of partnerships and communications at the Social Investment Business, said that asking younger people to lend money to charities might be a better way of getting them involved with charity.