Robert Booth

A group of super-rich entrepreneurs, models and pop stars are demanding tax breaks to encourage them to give billions more to good causes that tackle international poverty, disease and climate change.

An invitation-only gathering of 100 businessmen and women, philanthropists and celebrities will meet over dinner next week at the Dorchester hotel in Mayfair, London, to launch a campaign to persuade the Treasury to grant 50 per cent tax relief on donations which benefit the U.N.’s millennium development goals.

The Fortune Forum, a charity that convenes philanthropists including Britain’s richest man, Lakshmi Mittal, and Sir Tom Hunter, a “venture philanthropist” who plans to give away hundreds of millions of pounds, claims the majority of the invited guests have an average net worth of $1b and represent an untapped resource. With the incentive of tax breaks, high net worth individuals and their private companies will donate an extra £5b a year to help meet the millennium goal, it claims.

Britain’s richest 20 per cent now donate on average 0.8 per cent of their income to good causes while the poorest 20 per cent give 3 per cent. Fortune Forum estimates that if the proposed tax break system was applied across all G8 countries £53b in new money could be raised, dramatically reducing the £109b shortfall in spending by U.N. member countries on the millennium goals.

At Tuesday’s dinner Ted Turner, the founder of CNN who gave £1b to found the United Nations Foundation, will be joined by Joss Stone, who will sing, while the actor Milla Jovovich will introduce a speech by the writer Paulo Coehlo, whose novels have been embraced by the self-help movement.

The Nobel prize-winning economist Sir James Mirrlees and the founder of Fortune Forum, socialite and fashion heiress Renu Mehta, will outline their tax proposal, which has been endorsed by the U.N. Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon. — © Guardian Newspapers Limited, 2009