§ Mr. Spring
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what is the total amount which has been contributed annually to the charitable sector(a) overall and (b) through the gift-aid scheme since the scheme's introduction; what these are as proportions of the total turnover of the charitable sector; and what is the total cost to his Department of the tax refunds resulting from the gift-aid scheme. 
§ Ms Hewitt
[holding answer 15 June 1999]Charities received some £760 million under the Gift Aid scheme in 1997–98, of which £177 million were repayments of basic rate income tax, on donations by individuals and companies. Additional relief claimed by higher rate taxpayers for donations under the Gift Aid scheme is provisionally estimated at £40 million for 1997–98.
Consistent and reliable annual estimates for total donations to charities and for the income and expenditure of this sector are not available centrally. However, the Charities Aid Foundation estimates overall income donated by individuals to be around £5 billion to £6 billion per year. In addition to this charities also benefit from donations by companies and other organisations.
The Charity Commission's Register showed at the end of March 1999 that the total annual income of all registered charities in England and Wales was about £21 billion. This does not cover charities in Scotland and Northern Ireland, nor does it include non-registered charities.