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Britain is Europe’s most generous country, index finds

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The UK was ranked eighth globally, falling two places since 2015

Britain is the most generous country in Europe, according to the annual Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) World Giving Index.

Overall, the UK was ranked the world’s eighth most generous country, one place above Ireland but two places lower than last year’s position.

The survey found one in three people in Britain had volunteered in the past month, up from 26% in 2015, with the biggest increase among 30-49 year olds.

However, the number of people who donated to a good cause dropped from 75% to 69%, and respondents who said they had helped a stranger fell from 63% to 61%.

The generosity of people, even in countries suffering from disaster and turmoil, is truly humbling

Myanmar was found to be the most generous country on Earth for the third year running. The United States was second, making it the most generous nation in the western world, followed by Australia.

For the first time since the index began, more than half of people in 140 countries said they helped a stranger, and record numbers of people volunteered their time. The numbers of people worldwide giving money was also slightly up.

Just five of the G20 countries appear in the top 20 of the index, while Africa is the continent which has seen the biggest increase in generosity in the past year.

The index also showed high levels of generosity in Iraq and Libya in terms of helping a stranger despite ongoing armed conflicts, and Nepal, which achieves its highest index ranking following the devastating earthquakes of 2015.

John Low, CAF chief executive, said: “The generosity of people, even in countries suffering from disaster and turmoil, is truly humbling. It’s amazing that more than half the people in the world said they helped a stranger.

“In every country, people have this inbuilt desire to give and help others. Governments should encourage that spirit of generosity and create the environment in which a strong civil society can flourish allowing people to reach out to those less fortunate than themselves.

“Unconditional gifts of time and money are a life changing force for good in the world. As people become more prosperous and economies grow stronger we have an opportunity to build an ever stronger culture of giving right across the world.”

The index is based upon data from Gallup’s World View World Poll, a survey of around 140,000 people worldwide. Statistics were collated on a UK-wide basis, meaning separate figures for Scotland are unavailable, but a spokesman for CAF said its UK Giving report due next year would include a full regional breakdown.

The world's ten most generous countries, in order, were: Myanmar, the USA, Australia, New Zealand, Sri Lankar, Canada, Indonesia, the UK, Ireland and the UAE.