UK-wide research has found a third of the public say their views of charities have improved in the past three years, but the voluntary sector has been warned against complacency.

A quarter of those polled said their views had become more negative.

The charity sector has faced criticism from coalition government ministers and seen negative revelations regarding ethical investments by Comic Relief, and the controversial Cup Trust, which was accused of abusing charity status for tax purposes.

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Mind the Gap, a briefing paper on the research published by New Philanthropy Capital, found the top five concerns were that charities spent too much on executive salaries, were not transparent enough, spent too much abroad, put pressure on people to donate and spent too much on running costs.