Charity shops in Wales could suffer as a result of new proposals. Image courtesy of Rgbstock/Adrian van Leen.
The Charity Retail Association
has said slashing charitable rate relief will ‘severely restrict’ the amount of income obtained by charities in Wales.
Proposals outlined in the Business Rates Wales review
include recommendations to limit the amount of relief for charity
shops by up to 50 percent in some cases; this would restrict the premises stores may occupy and limit the number of shops eligible for rate relief in any single area.
The Charity Retail Association represents 70 percent of charity shops in Wales and believes that the new proposals will make already difficult conditions for charity shops trading on the high street
even worse and limit the scope of services they are able to provide.
Charity shops currently provide an income of approximately £50 million in Wales each year. The Charity Retail Association has said that the new proposals would result in shop closures and reduce volunteering opportunities as well as impacting negatively on the environment – on a yearly basis, charity shops divert 20,000 tonnes of clothing from landfill, reducing carbon emissions
by over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.
, Head of Policy and Public Affairs for the Charity Retail Association, commented: “These proposals are bad for Welsh charities and for the Welsh economy
. If they are agreed by the Welsh Government, charity shops will undoubtedly close, which will create more empty shops and restrict the income going to Welsh charities and hospices. 700 paid jobs in charity shops would be under threat, along with the 9,000 volunteering opportunities that charity shops offer.”
Geoff Jones, WCVA
Enterprising Communities officer, said: “Income from charity shops is an important way that sector organisations can develop unrestricted income that will help them to become more financially sustainable.”
“It is important to note at present business rates are a non-devolved issue. Therefore, any proposal to consult on this matter would need to take place at a UK as well as a Welsh Government level.”
“The review makes a recommendation that consideration should be given to introducing a limited relief for social enterprises. This is potentially contradictory in terms of the recommendation around cutting of the relief currently afforded to charities. From our experience, social enterprises are often the trading arm of charities and therefore it is important to ensure that one part of the sector is not favoured at the expense of another.”
“WCVA will be working with the Charity Retail Association and other stakeholders to feed back our view on an important issue for the sector. It is our intention that we take this issue to the Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science ministerial meeting.”