Age Cymru says proposals to cut business rate relief for charity shops in Wales are flawed and will lead to job losses and empty shops.
Our warning comes ahead of an announcement that is expected today by Welsh Government Business Minister Edwina Hart on reducing business rate relief for charity shops from 80% to 50%.
Richard Nicholls, Age Cymru’s Director of Income Resources says:
“We are deeply concerned by proposals made to the Welsh Government in the report ‘Business Rates Wales Review: Incentivising Growth’.
“It recommends cutting business rate relief for charity shops from 80% to 50%, which it is estimated may see the closure of as many as a third of charity shops in Wales.
“This will lead to job cuts, volunteering opportunities will be gone and we’ll have even more empty shop units on high streets across the country.
“The proposals could also mean a loss of services that are offered by charities such as Age Cymru’s Information & Advice service, because of a loss of revenue.”
Age Cymru says the ‘Business Rates Wales Review: Incentivising Growth’ report ignores the fact that incomes from charity shops are relatively small.
Charities also need to make up a 20% drop in income they’ve seen since the recession and retail is part of the solution to this problem.
The report does not take into account the true value of charity shops to communities across Wales accodring to Age Cymru.
Richard Nicholls adds:
“The ‘Business Rates Wales Review: Incentivising Growth’ report is missing the bigger picture.
“It doesn’t look at the economic situation of charities in Wales and their need to build a diverse and sustainable fundraising base for years to come.
“It overlooks the fact that profit from charity shops is 10%-20% of total turnover, which in the case of one of our shops in North Wales is as little as £5,700 for the year.
“The report also ignores the value of high street presence for charities as a source of engaging audiences for our charitable work and incentivising giving including legacies.
“This is why Age Cymru is urging the Welsh Government to retract from the proposals in the ‘Business Rates Wales Review: Incentivising Growth’ and give charities in Wales a chance of a sustainable future.”