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

13 minutes ago
Block Fen Road, Mepal,

An eye witness has described the moment a driver was set alight after his tipper lorry hit overhead power cables at a Fenland quarry.

Yesterday, 16:48
Richard Maycroft jailed for 13 years for sex offences

A father of two was jailed for 13 years today for nine sexual assaults on four female victims - two of which were 12 years old.

Yesterday, 15:31
Lorry overturns at Wyton (PHOTO: Magpas)

A lorry driver had to be freed from his cab by emergency crews after his vehicle overturned in Wyton.

Yesterday, 14:47
A grey Renault Clio, very similar to the make that was stolen this morning in Chatteris

A nurse’s car was stolen from Angoods Lane, Chatteris, shortly before 8am today.

Most read stories

Most commented stories

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Cambs Times e-edition E-edition