Poll - would you donate to charity through an ATM?
An inspired way to encourage generosity in society? Or a back-door to cutting public spending?
The government is considering asking banks to allow customers to make charitable donations every time they withdraw cash from an ATM. It's one of many ideas put forward and under consultation; other suggestions include schemes for consumers to round up credit card payments to the nearest pound with the difference being paid to charity, and being prompted to give money when completing paperwork for tax returns, passports and driving licences.
It's all part of David Cameron's drive to create his "big society". However, it comes against a backdrop of massive cuts in public spending and increases in taxation; as a country we face paying more tax for fewer local, regional and national services.
Whether the scheme would be successful depends on a number of issues. How transparent would these schemes be; would you trust the money you donate to reach a specific charity? And who would fund it? Would the third party vendors who currently facilitate credit card payments expect to take their percentage?
There's also the matter of which charities would be supported, since we tend to make regular donations to very specific causes. Would there be the ability to choose a charity making a difference close to home, or only pick from a list of pre-determined national charities?
Would such a scheme see funding responsibilities shift from the government to the public? One example might be Help For Heroes - a very worthy charity that supports Armed Forces personnel injured since 9/11, by building recovery centres across the country for servicemen and women. Should the public need to fund schemes to ensure veterans receive adequate care? Where does state responsibility end and that of society begin?
There's a maze of issues to resolve before the government suggests we support charities beyond the point we already do. At a time of escalating unemployment and an increasing cost of living, how charitable will the public feel? Take a vote in our poll about donating through cash machines and let us know your mind thoughts in the comments, avid readers.