Whitbread boss urges more businesses to back Payroll Giving scheme

By Emma Eversham

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Whitbread Employment

Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison hopes that more hospitality companies will introduce the Payroll Giving scheme
Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison hopes that more hospitality companies will introduce the Payroll Giving scheme
Whitbread chief executive Andy Harrison is among a handful of business heads who are urging other companies to back the Payroll Giving scheme which allows workers to give part of their wages directly to charity.

Harrison, along with the heads of other multi-million pound firms such as BT, say lack of support within the business sector is preventing the Payroll Giving scheme from delivering on its 'massive potential'.

Last month the company, operator of Premier Inn, Beefeater and Table Table, was awarded the best overall payroll giving campaign at the National Payroll Giving Excellence Awards 2011 in recognition of its support of the scheme and strong take-up by employees.

Harrison said: “At Whitbread we are very proud of our Payroll Giving scheme which is an important part of our broader ‘Good Together’ CR programme.

“Over 20 per cent of our team members have chosen to donate regularly in this way as it's easy and tax efficient. I would encourage every employer to be a force for good by helping their people support the charities of their choice in this way.”

Popularity falls

Despite being championed by Prime Minister David Cameron as part of his Big Society drive, the take-up of Payroll Giving – a tax-free way for employees to donate to good causes – has slumped for the third year running.

Figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act show the total number of people involved in payroll-giving schemes within the UK now stands at 720,000 – down 4,000 on 2010 and representing just three per cent of the work force.

However, a survey of 2,000 adults by Payroll Giving in Action found that 61 per cent of British workers think employers should offer the scheme to staff.

Payroll Giving founder Jeremy Colwill said: “The poll shows that despite having its critics, Payroll Giving still has tremendous support among members of the public.

“It is now up to businesses both big and small to listen to their staff and promote the scheme within the workplace. Their involvement is key to the survival and future success of payroll giving.”

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