Philanthropists could save the state spending £100bn a year on social issues, according to research by Barclays Wealth.
The report, entitled Early Interventions: An Economic Approach to Charitable Giving, written in association with the think tank New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), is aimed at private funders and identifies the three most expensive social issues in Britain.
According to the research, badly behaved children cost the UK £51bn a year, adults out of work with mental health problems cost £45bn a year and chaotic families cost a further £12bn a year.
Emma Turner, director of client philanthropy at Barclays Wealth, told The Huffington Post UK that the numbers were “quite amazing”.
“I think everyone knows that a lot of these issues cost a lot of money, but what is a lot of money until someone tells you what it is?”
According to Turner, focusing investors’ attention on these three "gritty and quite tough" issues could help save the state cash.
“These costs are enormous and we all know that money is very tight at the moment. Public services are being cut and charitable donations are being stretched.”
Getting private donors involved with funding specific projects, such as early intervention for young people with behavioural issues through counselling and family support could cut eventual costs for the taxpayer by up to a fifth.
Iona Joy, who looks at charity effectiveness at NPC, said: “Many charities aim to improve people’s lives regardless of economic benefits, however taking an economic approach to allocating charitable funding helps us to understand the value of tackling some of the toughest social problems faced in the UK.”
Turner added that while jobs like hers, where wealthy people are given advice on how best invest in charities, are a “relatively new marketplace”, they have an enormous amount of potential to help direct philanthropists towards causes that will have a real social impact.
But is it part of the Big Society? “We commissioned this report at the beginning of this year," said Turner. "Reports like this are just incredibly important whenever they're done. The big society means many different things to many different people. If part of the big society is giving back to society, and if part of that is charitable giving, then this is part of the big society.”
The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, a social policy research group and charity,has welcomed the report. Policy and research manager Chris Goulden told the Huffington Post UK:
"We know child poverty costs the country around £25 billion per year, so there is a huge challenge to face. The Foundation knows that it is crucial that we alleviate the causes of poverty, not just the symptoms. So good quality jobs and recognition of barriers people face as they try to escape poverty are vital."