The UK Budget taking place on the 3 March 2021 will see further measures unveiled to tackle the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fallout from the closure of non-essential retail. Our submission (1) calls on the UK Chancellor to introduce new measures to help safeguard the future of charity retailers, the wider charity sector and the high street.
The introduction of a third lockdown across the UK means that existing measures of support are not sufficient and more is needed. Among the measures that we call for in our Budget submission are:
- A temporary boost to the value of Gift Aid
- An extension of the business rates holiday for the retail sector
- The reinstatement of the Job Retention Scheme Bonus of £1,000 per furloughed employee who remains employed at the end of the scheme
- “Shop Out to Help Out” scheme which could see people given vouchers to spend in shops along the lines of the recent announcement made by the Northern Ireland Executive
- A renewed package of financial support for the charity sector as advocated by the Never More Needed campaign (2)
- Ensuring that new subsidy control rules don’t prevent larger charity retailers from accessing essential retail business grants
In normal times, charity retailers generate £28 million a week which is spent on charitable activities. The closure of charity shops through lockdowns has contributed to a substantial reduction in the money raised to support charitable activities. Together with the closure of shops, the cancellation of large events and other fundraising activities means that further Government support for charities and their work is vital.
Charity shops play a major role in providing vital funds for charitable activities as well as tackling the waste crisis in the UK by giving items a second life. As our high streets adapt to changing shopping habits, charity shops will play an increasing role in making shopping areas an attractive place for people to visit. Charity shops offer customers a unique experience which cannot be easily replicated online or by other retailers.
Budget 2021 is the opportunity for the Government to ensure that they at least match the financial support announced during the first wave of the pandemic.