The Scottish Government spending plans for 2019/20 were revealed last week by Finance Secretary, Derek Mackay. While key announcements focused heavily on health and education, plans were also unveiled to support the environment, businesses and town centre growth.
One of the announcements commits £20 million to zero waste and for transitioning towards a circular economy. This is positive news for the charity retail sector which could potentially benefit from increased awareness in reusing and recycling.
Another environmental announcement sees an increase in the standard rate of Scottish Landfill Tax to £91.35 per tonne and the lower rate to £2.90 per tonne in 2019-20, in line with RPI inflation and Landfill Tax charges in the rest of the UK. We estimate that charity retail in Scotland keeps 35,000 tonnes of textiles out of landfill every year – the increase in Scottish Landfill Tax can help the sector to further highlight the saving made from charity retail reuse activity.
Plans have been unveiled to introduce a Town Centre Fund with £50 million allocated for the upcoming year. The Scottish Government recognises the need to make our town centres ‘diverse and sustainable’ and will be working with local authorities to support economic development.
A pledge has also been made to maintain the Small Business Bonus Scheme which provides rates relief to over 119,000 business properties across Scotland and has lifted 100,000 recipients out of rates altogether. The Government will also maintain the Business Growth Accelerator, which ensures new build properties are not liable for rates until 12 months after first occupation.
The social, economic and environmental benefits of charity retail are becoming all the more relevant as national policy focuses on enhancing quality of life, reducing waste in favour of a circular economy and investing in sustainable futures for our towns.
Ahead of the final vote on the Scottish Budget in early 2019, we’ll be looking at how different aspects in the current proposals may affect charity retail. More information about the budget is available on the Scottish Government website here.
Public Affairs and Communications Officer, Scotland