Europe News

Please Give Generously – It's for the UK Government

A British charity is pioneering the idea of reducing the country's bulging debt by encouraging people to buy gift vouchers that will be sent to the Treasury.

The Charities Advisory Trust, which publishes a Christmas Good Gifts Catalogue where people can donate money for causes such as bringing fresh water to African villages and for medical care for children in India, recently advertised a 20 pounds ($33.2) gift voucher to help pay the debt.

"Why lumber your descendants with a staggering debt burden? Now is the time to start reducing the National Debt in their names (and their interest)," the advertisement reads, stating that this is "a wonderful present for children and grandchildren."

The UK national debt is more than 800 billion pounds, or over 13,000 pounds per person and rating agencies have warned the country risks losing its AAA rating if the government does not take steps to reduce it.

Sharon Lorimer

"It may seem like a joke, but there is a serious purpose behind this gift," the charity's Web site said.

The amount of money for services like funding schools, pensions, subsidies for the arts or improving infrastructure is likely to be severely cut or even disappear altogether, it went on.

"We may have the pleasure of overspending, but future generations will have to pick up the bill," it warned.

The charity encourages people to mitigate the effect of the burden of the debt by donating "a suggested 20 pounds for every child or grandchild, niece or nephew." There is also a suggested "bonus" for bankers, who should donate 1,000 pounds.

The UK Treasury would not be alone in receiving help to reduce the national debt. For years, the US Treasury has accepted donations for the same purpose.

Those willing to contribute should make their check payable to the Bureau of Public Debt, and write that it is a "Gift to reduce the Debt Held by the Public" in the memo section, according to the US Treasury's Web site.