Businesses in East Cambs suffering at the hands of charity shops, former council leader says

10:36 05 February 2013

Fred Brown

Fred Brown

Archant

CHARITY shops in East Cambridgeshire are not playing by the rules and damaging local independent businesses according to a councillor and businessman.

Former leader of East Cambs District Council Fred Brown, says that many charity shops across the district are now selling brand new items, putting them in direct competition with retailers who have to pay high rents and business rates.

Charity shops are guaranteed at least 50 per cent relief from business rates and almost always receive an additional 50 per cent from the district council as discretionary relief, saving them thousands of pounds.

Cllr Brown says that local business are already suffering from competition online and from a lack of support by says they are suffering a double-whammy when having to compete against charity shops which pay no rates or wages to volunteer staff.

He said: “Everybody seems to be afraid to say anything about charity shops – and im certainly not against them – but it has to be fair and equitable.

“When you have charities selling brand new and boxed musical instruments, books and stationary they are in direct competition with local retailers and it is not a level playing field.

“Charity shops should be what they are, selling second hand goods and hand-me-downs, otherwise it’s unfair competition. We looked at a unit in the High Street in Ely but the rates and rents were so high we just couldn’t afford it.

“Meanwhile you’ve got charity shops moving into empty units at a rapid rate.”

Cllr Brown said the district council should be reviewing every shop and looking at introducing a policy to limit the amount of discretionary rate relief they receive if they are in competition with local traders.

A spokesman for the council said: “We have worked long and hard to develop a discretionary rate scheme which is fair to businesses, charities and organisations throughout East Cambridgeshire.

“In recent months we consulted over a range of options in order to develop a balanced scheme. As part of this there is Government legislation which charities must adhere to regarding the items which they can sell in their shops and this is closely monitored the district council.”

0 comments

More news stories

Jobs Centre Plus

Youth unemployment in the Fens dropped 36 per cent in the past year according to new figures from Job Centre Plus.

16:41
Woman who died in A1 crash is named

A woman who died following a collision on the A1 between the B654 Wyboston and the A428 yesterday (July 28) has been named.

Action from King's Lynn Town V Weymouth at The Walks - Lynn Manager Gary Setchell. Picture: Matthew Usher.

Local football manager Gary Setchell has spoken about how a misunderstanding over his council tax payments could have landed him in custody.

Yesterday, 22:02
Steve Barcay is proud of his 'treat me local' campaign but is it now facing its toughest challenge?

An NHS whistle blower has revealed to NE Cambs MP Steve Barclay confidential documents suggesting decisions have already been made to close minor injuries units at Doddington, Wisbech and Ely.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Wisbech Standard e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up