The Charity Retail Association

And it’s goodbye from me…

This is my last Policy and Public Affairs blog as next week I start a new role at the General Medical Council.

I have had a fantastic four years at the Charity Retail Association. I firmly believe that charity retail is one of the best sectors anyone can work in. Not only does everything we do contribute to a huge amount of social value for Britain’s communities, economy and environment, but we are also very lucky to work with so many dedicated and cooperative people.

My favourite memories from my time at the Charity Retail Association are teaming up with members to campaign for change. I think we have had some great successes together, and in particular I am proud of the following.

  • Persuading the government to drop plans to make the retail Gift Aid system “opt in” rather than “opt out” back in 2015.  This would have threatened the entire viability of this method of fundraising.
  • Establishing the first every All Party Parliamentary Group for Charity Retail, with representatives of the three main political parties in the roles of chair and joint vice chairs.
  • Heading off threats to the principle of mandatory charitable rate relief for charity shops in both Scotland and Northern Ireland, plus persuading the Charity Tax Commission to follow our recommendation that all shops run through trading subsidiaries should also receive the full discount.
  • Engaging with several politicians on the issue of shop worker protection and ensuring that a draft bill going before the Scottish Parliament would specifically include provisions to protect retail volunteers, and drafting a question for the Shadow Home Office Minister to ask on this subject at the despatch box in Westminster.
  • Persuading HMRC and the Treasury to introduce a de minimis limit into the retail Gift Aid system in the November 2018 Budget, this change will save some our members hundreds of thousands of pounds, money better spent on their causes.

So, I will be sorry to leave you all, but know you’ll be in capable hands with our new Head of Public Affairs, Jonathan Mail.  He will introduce himself in next week’s Charity Retail News.

Matt Kelcher
Head of Public Affairs and Research
Charity Retail Association