Shrink the state and turbocharge charity



Christopher Snowdon writes in Spiked!

In the Media

Christopher Snowdon writes in The Spectator

Mark Littlewood writes in The Times

IEA Director General Mark Littlewood has written in The Times arguing that charity and philanthropy should be much easier than it is today.

Mark wrote:

“Average giving of about £160 per person each year bears little comparison to a typical tax bill, a high slice of which is devoted to poverty relief initiatives.

“When the modern welfare state was founded in 1948, it amounted to a mere half a billion pounds of expenditure — about £16 billion in today’s money. Today that stands at well over £200 billion, and this is only measuring direct payments such as state pensions or housing benefit, not the cost of education or health services.”

Mark further highlighted the historical prevalence of a voluntary social safety net:

“In the early 19th century, British adults belonged to an average of five or six voluntary organisations of amazing diversity. Some offered financial protection against illness or unemployment, others ran savings schemes. Still more had a commitment to improving literacy or scientific understanding.

“David Green, of Civitas, the think tank, has found that in 1803 there were nearly 10,000 voluntary or friendly societies with over 700,000 total members in England and Wales. By 1910, this had exploded to a membership of well over six million.”

Mark concluded:

“There is such a thing as society, but it isn’t synonymous with the state and too often the latter is far less efficient than the former.”

The full article can be read here.