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Braintree district: Should there be a cap on charity shops?
9:00am Saturday 13th October 2012 in News
More than 20 charity shops in Braintree and Witham are given just over £130,000 in business rate relief. The 21 shops, the majority of which are in the town centres, only have to pay a mandatory 20 per cent in business rates- as set by the Government.
Braintree Council can also give discretionary rate relief depending on circumstances such as who the shop helps and what other support it receives.
Braintree and Witham charity shops receive £123,704.75 in mandatory rate relief and £7,479.14 in discretionary relief.
Some traders have questioned the fairness of this policy and Mary Portas, who was tasked by the Government to revive Britain’s high streets, suggested there should be a cap on the number of charity shops claiming rate relief.
But councillor Chris Siddall, who is portfolio folder for the Portas Pilot following Braintree’s successful bid, declined to comment on whether local authorities should be able to cap the number of charity shops.
Charity Retail Association spokesman Wendy Mitchell said: “Charity shops are not responsible for the problems on the high street.
“With over 1 in 10 shops currently standing vacant in town centres, charity shops are often occupying premises which would otherwise be empty, and by investing in the high street are helping to attract in customers, which benefits all retailers.
See this week's Times for the full story.