The Charity Retail Association (CRA) has urged Welsh economy minister Edwina Hart to reject proposals to cut business rates relief over fears charity shops and recycling efforts could be “seriously damaged”.
CRA chief executive Warren Alexander called on Hart to attend an emergency summit with charity sector representatives following the launch of a Welsh Government consultation proposing that rate relief for larger charity shops be cut from 80% to 50%.
The proposals were set out in a report by professor Brian Morgan, who argued charity shops were causing “market distortion” and negatively impacting other businesses.
Morgan recommended that in 2022 the rate relief for all charity shops should be cut to 50%.
Alexander said: “If adopted these recommendations will constitute a new tax on charity by the Welsh Government.
“Charity shops are raising vital funds for services, helping the Welsh Government meet its recycling targets, supporting local high streets and providing jobs and volunteering opportunities for people in Wales.”
According to the CRA, charity shops divert more than 20,000 tonnes of textiles from landfill every year.
The Institute of Fundraising Cymru said the cut in rate relief would be “highly damaging”.
Institute chairman Martin Price said: “The lives of thousands of vulnerable people across Wales will be adversely affected, and many charity staff face losing their jobs if Professor Morgan’s proposals go ahead.
“We will be responding in full to the new consultation and joining the CRA to lobby Edwina Hart to reverse the highly damaging plans.”