Charity Retail and Recovery from the Lockdown

The influential House of Commons Business Select Committee is undertaking an inquiry into what steps the UK Government needs to take to support economic recovery. The charity retail sector was hard hit by the closure of “non-essential” retail, and during the period that charity shops were required to close, around £285 million in customer sales were lost.

The committee is keen to investigate ways of supporting economic growth that is spread across the UK, supports jobs and is sustainable in both an economic and environmental sense.

Charity retail is a prime example of a part of the economy that can deliver green economic growth, support employment, and bring people together by bringing a buzz to the high street. The growth of charity retail means not just an increase in funds for good causes but also helps the environment by enabling items to be reused rather than becoming waste. Reusing items reduces carbon emissions and the use of precious resources, such as water, by extending the lifespan of goods and reducing the volume of new goods that need to be produced and transported around the world.

Our submission to the committee calls for the Government to help enable the growth of charity retailers in the UK by:

– Temporarily boosting the value of Gift Aid
– Launching grant funding to support charity retail to increase rates of reuse
– Backing retailers on the high street

Together, with the wider charity sector we are asking for an increase in the effective tax rate used in the Gift Aid calculation from 20% to 25%. We also propose the creation of grant funding to support charity retailers to introduce new projects which will increase the volume of items diverted into reuse rather than becoming waste. Finally, we press for the extension of existing measures to support retailers including reductions in business rates and the continuation of the retail grant scheme.

You can access our submission to the committee here.

Jonathan Mail, Head of Public Affairs, Charity Retail Association