Nearly 40 per cent of major philanthropists will give less in the wake of the government’s decision to cap tax reliefs for charitable donations, according to research by the Charities Aid Foundation.
A CAF a survey of 183 people who had given more than £50,000 a year to charity over the past three years asked: "Which of the following best describes the impact that you think the changes will have on the amount that you donate?"
More than a quarter, 26.6 per cent, of respondents said they would give "significantly reduced" amounts to charity, while another 12.5 per cent said they would give "reduced" amounts. Slightly more than 57 per cent indicated their giving would not change, and only 1.6 per cent, or three respondents, said their giving would increase.
Of those who said they would give less, 45 per cent (33 respondents) said their giving would be cut by more than 40 per cent. A further 5.6 per cent (4 respondents)said they would give 80 to 100 per cent less.
Of the donors surveyed, 20 per cent (38 people)had given a sum to charity worth more than their annual income, and 4 per cent (8 people) had given more than £1m.
A CAF spokesman said that if this trend was replicated across all major givers, it would amount to lost giving of many hundreds of millions of pounds a year.
From April next year, any donor giving more than £50,000 a year including Gift Aid, or a quarter of their income, whichever is higher, will not be able to reclaim all the tax they have paid on their donations.
John Low, chief executive of CAF, said: "The tax changes in the Budget have created alarm and concern among both charities and philanthropists.
"Our survey shows that the Chancellor’s proposed tax changes could have dire consequences for charities, which need the support of major donors more than ever.
"At a time when charities are under increasing pressure because of funding cuts and greater need in society, the government should be encouraging major donors to dig deep in their pockets, not changing the tax rules to put them off making donations."
In response to the tax change, CAF and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, together with other umbrella bodies, have launched the Give it Back, George campaign. Already it has more than 1,000 signatories, including the Samaritans, Sue Ryder, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Action on Hearing Loss.