Wednesday 24 April 2013

State sponsored lunacy

Many years back a certain Michael Lyons produced a block buster report on Local Government. I was at the launch and spotted , buried in the middle an absurd proposal to remove the business rates exemption from charity shops. I sprang into action. Within hours I had managed to get the Labour Government to say they would not implement a self evidently stupid proposal.

Now years on we must have that battle again , but in Wales where this idea has resurfaced from the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government’s proposals for a tax hike on high street charities are state-sponsored lunacy. Charity shops in Wales do not just provide much needed funding for good causes, they also provide hundreds of jobs and thousands of volunteering opportunities, providing employment and skills to communities across Wales. The proposal to hit those charity shops with more tax will mean less money for good causes, and fewer employment opportunities for people in Wales. The Welsh Government must see sense and drop this proposal.

And just what do they think will happen if charity shops close down!  Will they be replaced by lovely craft emporia.. Splendid cafes. Or will they be replaced by empty boarded up spaces or loan shark offices?  Lets hear it for charity shops. They are keeping our high streets alive. Some are truly lovely places to shop. My curtains in Charlbury are courtesy of the Helen Douglas hospice shop in Chipping Norton. I love shopping in them. So do many people. And the fact we know that supports the great work of charities is such a brilliant idea.

So get a grip Welsh Government. Drop this now. Or face the wrath of the united powers of the Welsh charity and voluntary sector. I'm booking my train tickets.......

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