Lloyds Banking Group was again the most generous company in terms of charity cash donations last year, giving away more than £50m, according to the Directory of Social Change.
The tenth edition of The Guide to UK Company Giving, published this week, examines how much the top 400 companies in the UK said they gave to charity during the financial year 2013/14.
It shows that the 235 companies willing to declare their donations gave a combined £369m – compared with £470m that came from the 551 companies included in the ninth edition of the book, published in spring 2013.
The supermarket chain Tesco was the second most generous company for cash donations, giving £25m.
The construction company Redrow Group replaced Lloyds Banking Group as the most generous company in terms of cash and in-kind donations, defined as support such as pro-bono work, staff volunteering and provision of equipment.
Redrow contributed £113m to charities and Lloyds Banking Group, which gave £85m, came in second.
At £658m, the total amount given to charities (including cash and in-kind donations), was 9 per cent higher than the £603m given in the financial year 2011/12, the focus of the DSC’s previous research, despite the smaller sample size.
The research found that the top 25 most generous companies gave 68 per cent of the cash donations.
Denise Lillya, research manager at the DSC and co-author of the book, said the sample was made up of the companies in the FTSE 350 that either did most of their charitable giving in the UK or made a substantial contribution to UK charities, as well as a number of companies not in the FTSE 350 that were known for their charitable giving.
She said the research was compiled from companies’ latest accounts, accessed either from their websites or from Companies House.
Of the 400 companies, Lillya said 165 – 41 per cent – chose not to declare their donations because of changes to reporting requirements introduced in 2013, which meant that they were no longer required to declare donations exceeding more than £2,000 in their annual reports.
"Companies in some numbers are returning to previous unenlightened times by choosing not to declare the one thing they can’t put a spin on, the hard cash they give to community and voluntary organisations," Lillya said in a statement. "This is a disappointing and backwards step in transparent reporting and seems to have no logical reasoning or justification."
She added: "We would advise fundraisers to choose carefully to which companies they apply and for what, tailoring their applications towards specific corporates."