Charity retail association criticises proposals by Mary Portas
The Charity Retail Association has criticised the recommendation by Mary Portas that the government cap the number of charity shops claiming rate relief.
Portas, who is leading the government backed review of the high street, proposed the cap at last week’s meeting of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Town Centres and also suggested that the rate relief be given to start up businesses too.
However, the association is arguing that the problems in the high street could not be blamed on charity shops.
Wendy Mitchell, head of policy & public affairs at the association, said: "The problems on the high street are nothing to do with charity shops. In fact, charity shops are often occupying premises which would otherwise be empty – so any cap on the number of charity shops is likely to increase the number of empty shop fronts.
"The High Street Review should focus on the lack of consumer confidence, competition from out of town developments and ways to support small businesses through the downturn – not place the blame unfairly on charity shops."
The association said its research showed that 84% of people who shopped in charity shops did so because of the quality of the goods, and that 52% of people who said they would increase their buying in charity shops saw shopping there as an affordable way to support a good cause.
The association is writing to the Prime Minister David Cameron to ask him personally to reject any proposal to limit the work of charity shops in the High Street Review.
Mitchell added: “A cap on the number of charity shops is a direct cap on the amount that charities are able to fundraise at a time when grants and funding to charities are being cut. Charity shops raise over £200 million for causes in the UK every year. Our research demonstrates what a vital resource on the high street charity shops are, particularly for those on low incomes.”
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