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Welsh Labour Government must not press ahead with their “charity tax”– Eluned Parrott

June 19, 2013 12:02 PM

Eluned Parrott, Welsh Liberal Democrats Shadow Business Minister, has today urged the Welsh Labour Government not to press ahead with recommendations in the Business Rates Relief report that will punish charity shops in our high streets.

The independent review of business rates for charities was chaired by Prof Brian Morgan of Cardiff Metropolitan University, who published recommendations in April. These included:

Hosting an emergency summit with charities to discuss the new recommendations in the report, Eluned Parrott, South Wales Central AM said:

"If the Welsh Labour Government accepts the recommendations of the Morgan review into business rates, I am very concerned that this will have a detrimental effect on charity shops and our high streets in general. It is estimated that 130 paid jobs and 1,800 volunteer posts will go if these recommendations are accepted.

"If the intention, as stated, is to tackle a market distortion, I have no idea why they would choose to look at charity shops over the far more obviously distorted supermarket situation. I would suggest that they focus their attention on the unfair and distorted rate regime for large out of town shopping centres rather than picking on charity shops.

"Some people believe that charity shops are a blight on the high street but I am not, and have not been, convinced that charity shops are the reason for the decline of town centres.

"Charity shops have an important role to play in our society in terms of the money that they raise to fund good causes. I know of several charity shops that are providing training opportunities for people from various disadvantaged backgrounds. They also have an important role to play in helping people get back into the job market.

"I urge the Welsh Labour Government not to press ahead with the recommendations in the Morgan review. Charity shops are not the reason for the decline of our high streets. In many places they provide the foot fall needed to sustain high street shopping. The Welsh Labour Government is barking up the wrong tree."