BY CLAIRE GODWIN
This is the trouble with these so-called charities and their charity shops:
- You can apply for charity status. (In fact you do not have to be a Registered Charity to run a Charity Shop and reap the rewards in terms of reduced business rates. Merely you have to claim you are operating the shop for the benefit of a Registered Charity. Enforcement by local authorities is very weak).
- Once you get it, say for “Archie’s Care & Rest Homes for Wayward Pooches”, you found a shop.
- You ask friends and relatives for bags of old clothes and knickknacks.
- As it is a charity, you get a peppercorn rent from the premises owner.
- You don’t pay business rates.
- You get lovely old ladies to run your shop for free.
- Job seekers come knocking on the door – the government pays you to employ them.
- 6th form students come knocking looking for work experience.
- Lottery funding gives you a nice, new shiny van.
- People giving you fresh stock every day.
- You sell off hundreds of pounds of clothes to the rag man each week. He buys in bulk.
- People offer you house clearances for free – you take what you want and leave the rest.
- The sum that actually goes to charity – well, 10% is the minimum you need to pay out.
- So you have a shop in a good location, it can earn an unscrupulous charity £3000 plus per week.
- That’s why there are so many around.
- Second-hand dealers that could not compete simply turned their shops into charity shops while the rest of the dealers face increased business rate bills.
Is this fair?
Are charity shops keeping our high streets alive?
So what is the solution?
Tax the internet stores like Amazon and redistribute these taxes to lower business rates for the high street. Entrepreneurs will soon dispatch these unscrupulous charity shop owners making a fortune flogging tat. Keep the charity shops for bona fide charities like British Heart Foundation, which features in the article photo above.