Last week, Lord Browne of Madingley gave a speech, A New Age of Philanthropy?, hosted by the Art Fund at the Royal Society of Arts, London.
In the speech he commented on the need to find a new balance between philanthropy and the state.
In the World Giving Index, the UK is the eighth most generous nation in the world, with UK households devoting around 0.5 per cent of their expenditure to charitable causes, irrespective of how wealthy they are. This is the mark of a decent society, in which people from all backgrounds see philanthropy as a duty and a privilege.
However, changing demographics and the recent recession mean that the burden on the state is growing. As a result, the state is coming under pressure to redefine and scale back its contribution in certain areas. Many cultural and educational institutions are looking beyond the state for their income, which means that the expectations on private philanthropy are increasing.
To rebalance the system, Lord Browne called for the state to contract on a long-term basis for the services provided by charitable organisations. This will create and define the space for private philanthropists to step in, making clear what their contribution could add, meaning they would be more likely to give.
A full transcript of the speech can be found here