Thursday, October 27, 2011

Poll: Should The Number Of Charity Shops Be Restricted?

There has been a fuss this week about charity shops and whether their numbers should be restricted.

They get rate relief that other shops don't get and have voluntary staff, which other shops don't have. Because of this they can undercut other shops, such as secondhand bookshops, and help to destroy our high streets.

They raise a fortune for charities and provide invaluable experience for volunteers many of whom, as a consequence, go on to new careers in the retail sector. They help poorer families to buy quality goods at cut prices. They help to save our high streets by filling shops that would otherwise be empty.

The truth lies somewhere in between. Are charity shops merely taking advantage of a free market? Or are their tax advantages and volunteer staff killing other businesses? Should their number be restricted?

Please feel free to leave a comment and to vote in the poll on the side bar.


Part time Pilgirm said...

You forgot to mention environmental benefits associated with re-using unwanted goods.

Gregg said...

There are jumble sales, table top sales and charities that donate unwanted items, such as toys and clothes etc directly to the needy without destroying businesses and putting people out of work.

e.f. bartlam said...

We have lots of charity thrift shops but they don't get any breaks on rent. So, they end up in rougher parts of town or in old buildings. Even the ladies at the Junior League are slumming for space.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps it depends where you are. In the North London suburbs, it's the wealthier districts that have more charity shops because wealthy people can afford to discard good quality stuff. Regarding bookshops, I think their demise was down to a change in legislation regarding publishing prices or something rather than charity shops per se. Second hand bookshops and charity shops used to thrive alongside each other on the high street so I don't think it's just the charity shops that are to blame.

I suppose charity shops might put some people out of work but on the other hand they provide a wonderful public service. It's not only cheap but also great fun to go charity shopping! You never know what you'll find and a half day retail therapy/shopping spree can cost just 20-30 quid:)

Gregg said...

I would go for removing tax breaks for them here Erik, I don't see why they should get them to be honest.

I do know of bookshops driven out of business by charity shops. They just couldn't compete with shops selling very cheap books that they hadn't had to pay for, staff that they didn't have to pay and shops that paid less in rates. They used to live side by side but noot any longer in most towns.

I think Anon is referring to the net book agreement (think that was the name) so our old friends the supermarkets, and others, can sell books at £1 as loss leaders further shafting book shops, especially the last few independents.