Donations by the wealthy up 8 per cent, Sunday Times Giving List finds

International aid charities could ride out recession, says author Alistair McCall

International aid charities and hardship funds for students are better placed than other charities to ride out the recession, according to Alastair McCall, editor of the Sunday Times Giving List.

In a speech yesterday to mark the launch of the Sunday Times Giving List, McCall said causes rooted in the developing world, in particular Africa, were less likely to feel the effects of the downturn.

He also said major donors would remain keen to "grease the wheels of social mobility" by giving to bursary funds for gifted students from low-income backgrounds, especially those attending the colleges or universities they had attended. Giving was thriving despite the recession, he added.

The Sunday Times Giving List, part of the Sunday Times Rich List, which was published on Sunday, showed that the UK's top 100 philanthropists collectively gave £216m more in 2008 than in 2007 – an increase of 8 per cent.

McCall also said that although the rich had less money than they did a year ago, they were giving more away. "We shouldn't talk our way into recession," he said. "The biggest casualties of the credit crunch so far have been the ‘get-rich-quick' types, who tended to give little to charity."

John Low, chief executive of the Charities Aid Foundation, said at the meeting that there was cause for optimism in the sector. He said the new 50 per cent tax band would benefit charities by allowing them to reclaim more tax from donations, and that in a recent CAF survey, 37 per cent of donors said the recession might make them place less importance on possessions and more on helping others.

The Giving List top 10:

1 Christopher Cooper-Hohn
2 Lord Ashcroft
3 Ros and Steve Edwards
4 Arpad Busson and Uma Thurman
5 Lord Sainsbury
6 Dr Leonard Polonsky
7 Sir Elton John
8 Johan Eliasch
9 Bob Edmiston
10 Jon Moulton

Kaye Wiggins recommends

Sunday Times Giving List

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