Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir said this week that charity shops paying a proportion of the rateable value of a shop “would help us move towards the balanced principle that everyone on the High Street should start to pay something”. The proposals are part of a wide ranging review of rates which will soon go out for consultation.
The minister said charity shops help to bring people into high streets or small towns, in particular when times are tough, but that there is a need to make sure this doesn’t upset the healthy retail mix that exists in many areas.
‘I am all in favour of continuing to single out charity shops on the High Street for favourable treatment but I do think there is a case for limiting their growth’, the minister said.
‘ We cannot have our high streets just made up of charity shops,’ he added.
In his statement the minister quoted the example of England, Scotland and Wales where charity shops pay rates at 20%.
‘If, for example, we reduced support for charity shops on the High Street from 100 per cent to 90 per cent — that is, they paid one tenth of their rates — that would only represent a small revenue gain for the Executive,’ he said.
O’Muilleoir said he would like to see any future income from charity shops on the High Street go towards supporting entrepreneurship in the social enterprise sector.
It is estimated the charity concession costs £87 million each year and may also be used by some shop owners to reduce their rate charges because vacant shops attract partial 50% rates while charity shops pay no rates.
Get free email updates
Keep up to date with fundraising news, ideas and inspiration with a weekly or daily email. [Privacy]