Restaurant charity bid fits the bill

MINISTERS are to unveil plans urging restaurants and shops to round up customers' bills to the nearest pound and give the difference to charity as part of Prime Minister David Cameron's Big Society.

Tomorrow a White Paper will set out plans to make charitable donations and volunteering a "social norm".

The plans include promoting technology to allow customers to make a small donation when they pay by credit or debit card, while banks will also offer the option to donate at cashpoints.

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With card payments rapidly replacing cash for even small purchases, ministers will announce a "Round Pound" scheme, which will include the setting up of a working group of major retailers, banks and charities to explore ways to make "micro-donations" a way of life.

Firms including Domino's Pizza, Zizzi and Travelodge have been working with Pennies, described as an electronic charity box, since November.

More than 250,000 donations worth 60,000 have been made.

Although private donations to charity are worth 10 billion a year in the UK, ministers fear support for good causes has "flatlined".

More than four in ten adults do not make any regular donations.

The White Paper is also expected to include the setting up of "philanthropy ambassadors" to champion charity donations.

About eight per cent of the population contribute 47 per cent of Britain's total donations, according to estimates from the Cabinet Office.