22,600 sign charity shop petition

A campaign to save Welsh charity shops reached the Senedd when a 22,600-strong petition opposing rate relief restrictions was handed to the National Assembly last week.

The petition calls upon the Welsh Government to reject proposals, put forward in Professor Brian Morgan’s Business Rates Wales Review, that recommend cutting the current relief of 80% to just 50% for larger charity shops trading in new goods.

The petition was handed to the National Assembly’s petitions committee by Charity Retail Association chief executive Warren Alexander, and charity shop representatives including Paul Sartori Foundation manager Sandra Dade.

The charity, which provides end of life care for the terminally ill, currently receives a rate relief of 80%, and a further discretionary 20%, at its nine Pembrokeshire shops.

Sandra said: “We are a local, small charity, and if we have to pay rates, that would mean a minimum increase of £30,000 in shop expenses.

And anything that happens to the shop, will have a knock-on effect on the charity.

For the charity, £30,000 is potentially the cost of a nurse.

“It could mean the removal of one of our services like bereavement counselling, which would have a massive impact on a small local charity.”

Sandra said that it cost £800,000 to run the charity’s services and equipment last year.

She said: “Of our income, 36% was raised in our shops, 26% came from the Welsh Government, and the rest from donations and local fundraising. And it’s this activity that keeps the wheels in motion, and without which we would not be able to deliver our services.

“In those final stages, Paul Sartori enables people to come home from hospital and spend those precious last days and hours with their family.

“These services are vital, and that’s why we have the petition. And it says it in the name – we are Pembrokeshire’s only hospice at home.”

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