The super-rich 'give peanuts', says MP charged with reviewing sector's role in Covid-19 recovery

Danny Kruger says more private philanthropy is needed to help charities through the pandemic

Danny Kruger
Danny Kruger

The MP in charge of reviewing the sector’s role in the UK’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic has said that business has a big role to play, and that more must be done to encourage giving among the super-rich who “give peanuts”.

Danny Kruger, the Conservative MP for Devizes and former charity leader, was being interviewed on Times Radio about the role of business, and how to encourage more giving.

Kruger said the sector was facing a huge crisis in charity fundraising as a result of the coronavirus pandemic and more needed to be done to encourage giving.

“The answer is encourage more private philanthropy, I think the wealthy could give a lot more,” he said. “The super-rich, I’m afraid to say, give peanuts if you spread it out.”

On whether the wealthy should be just taxed more to fund public services, Kruger said: “By all means but that's not my responsibility. 

“I’m interested in how we can get people directly supporting their own neighbourhoods, and projects close to their heart... and I don’t think it’s appropriate to say the only resource for communities must come through the Treasury.”

Kruger said he thought it was appropriate for people to give directly to their communities and people who wanted to, super rich or not, should be helped to do so.

“Increasingly we are looking at more innovative models, crowdfunding for civic projects, getting people to buy community shares in a local asset that is then owned by the community, match funding or match trading, where if you support your social enterprise there is a scheme where the government will back it with money as well. 

“So there are ways public policy can support both philanthropy, and a more entrepreneurial social enterprise approach to supporting the sector.”

The role of business will also be crucial in the post Covid-19 recovery, said Kruger, who called for a much greater emphasis in corporate life on how companies could support local communities, and in a way that was more than just lip service.

“[Businesses should] become proper parts of their community, both through giving in their philanthropy budgets but also by procuring and getting their supplies from small business and charities, and making sure their employees can play a proper role in local communities.”

Kruger spoke of a new theme of purpose that is running through the business world and of the need to back that up with financial action.

“Businesses are recognising they don't just exist to pass profits up to shareholders, or remote investors, but they should be embedded in their communities, and the prosperity and future success of the company depends on being responsible for their environmental and social impact,” he said.

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