Of those surveyed, 88 per cent accepted the reality of social inequality, but only 23 per cent were likely to participate in their local communities to help the poorest. The poll was carried out by online polling organisation YouGov.
Stuart Etherington, chief executive of the NCVO, said the results were shocking. "But all is not lost, with 34 per cent sitting on the fence about the possibility of getting involved in their communities," he said. "Maybe all they need is some support."
He said that at the NCVO annual conference today he would ask the men in charge of planning the Labour and Conservative manifestoes, Ed Miliband and Oliver Letwin, what they would do about the social divide.