Charity shops face postcode lottery on business rates

Matt Cane

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CHARITY shops in Hampshire receive less support from their councils than most others in the rest of the country, a report has shown.

Shops in Portsmouth, Fareham, Havant and Gosport all pay Hampshire County Council the full amount for waste disposal of donated goods unlike 84 per cent of charity shops in the UK.

Nationwide, 15 per cent of charity shops are charged a reduced rate and 68 per cent are not charged at all.

A spokesperson for Hampshire County Council said: ‘Household waste in Hampshire now costs councils collectively around £100m each year and at the same time the government is withdrawing funding for local services.

‘Charities are now able to use the household waste recycling centres as an alternative to commercial waste transfer stations, but we do require them to pay modest charges which reflects the costs of dealing with their waste materials.’

The numbers also showed that Portsmouth City Council and Gosport Borough Council do not grant any charity shops any extra business rate relief beyond the mandatory 80 per cent, making them some of the least-supported charity shops in the country. Local authorities have discretion to add to this relief by up to 20 per cent. Nationally, 49 per cent of charity shops receive at least some extra relief.

Wayne Keeping, the operational manager for Stella’s Voice which has shops in Portsmouth, Havant and Waterlooville, said: ‘Getting more than the mandatory 80 per cent would be extremely helpful because of the additional work we could achieve with that money to tackle trafficking in Moldova.’

However, he praised Portsmouth City Council which offers a free tip service for damaged bulky household items that are donated to the Portsmouth store. ‘That service is so useful. It’s a shame that our Havant and Waterlooville shops don’t get the same help as it would save a lot of money,’ he added.

In comparison, Fareham Borough Council grants all 20 of its charity shops full business rate relief, whereas Havant gives just one out of its 47 the extra 20 per cent. A spokesperson for Fareham said: ‘This process is considered to be a benefit to the community by both recycling goods donated by the public and also by providing a source of funding to the many good causes managed by these charities.’

The figures were put together by the Charity Retail Association who gathered information from more than 400 local authorities across England, Wales and Scotland.