This sort of thing really does irritate me. This isn\’t a typo, it\’s plain and simple innumeracy:
That\’s the trouble with charity: it doesn\’t all go to what might be regarded as good causes. As a proportion of GDP, the US gives most: 1.7% against Britain\’s 0.7%.
OK….charitable giving is around and about the same as the Overseas Aid budget….or at least that UN target for ODA that we\’re meant to be striving to achieve.
GDP is around £1,400 billion. Call it roughly £10 billion then, somewhere around and about that, as the amount that Brits donate to charity each year.
Now, and no, I don\’t think I\’m being picky here, I would expect someone who is commenting upon public policy, even someone who is subbing an article on public policy, to have these rough sorts of numbers in their heads. At least to have some sort of idea of orders of magnitude. Giving to charity by Brits isn\’t £1 trillion and it\’s not £100 million. I wouldn\’t worry too much is someone thought it was £5 billion or £20 billion, but I would like them to be able to calculate, in their heads, to the right order of magnitude.
Given that they\’ve already given us the calculation that is.
But charities receive nearly a third of their £35m annual income from the government.
Do they think GDP is £3.5 billion or something? Or that Brits donate 0.0025% of GDP to charity?
How can anyone so ignorant of sums (and I include the writer, the subs, the editor here) be regarded as competent to appear in public? If someone butchered the English language so they\’d never get within a mile of the Guardian comment pages. So why are numbers treated differently?