Group refutes MP’s charity shop claims

Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde
Mark Menzies, MP for Fylde
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An organisation representing charity shops has written to Fylde MP Mark Menzies demanding a meeting after he claimed there were too many fund-raising stores on the high street.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Menzies said the number of charity shops had reached saturation point and were beginning to edge out other town centre retail stores.

However, the Charity Retail Association (CRA) – the organisation representing charity shops in the UK – has denied his claim that there is an “unequal balance” between charity shops and small commercial retailers.

Mr Menzies called for business rate relief to be slashed for charity shops, the pollcing of the sort of goods sold in the store and to give councils the right to turn down applications to open new fund-raising outlets.

CRA chief executive, Robin Osterley said: “By what measure is Mr Menzies claiming that the number of charity shops has reached saturation point?

“It is important to remember that charity shops are not direct competitors to commercial interests, but their partners on the high streets. Charity shops contribute to footfall and help to keep vacancy rates low.

“The donated stock that they sell is not available to other retailers.”

Charity shops are granted mandatory rate relief of 80 per cent in recognition of the fact that they serve the clear charitable function of raising money for charitable causes.

But Mr Osterley says in return for this £69 million concession, the charity retail sector generates more than seven times as much money which goes charity.

The CRA has written asking to meet Mr Menzies.