“Taxpayer’s charity shop subsidy blamed for high street decline”

“Taxpayer support for charity shops has grown by more than £1 billion over the past decade, adding to concern that subsidies are increasing their number and spoiling high streets.

Figures from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government show the cost of offering charities an 80 per cent discount on business rates rose to almost £1.9 billion in 2017-18 from £850 million in 2008-09. Retail analysts say this is crowding out the independent shops, cafés, and leisure premises needed to revive town and city centres.

The number of charity shops in Britain has grown rapidly over the past 15 years to more than 11,000 today. Residents and retailers in some towns complain that their high street seems to be overrun by charity shops. Although the £1.9 billion cost of the rates relief is not all taken by charity shops, because the discount also applies to other charitable premises, the subsidy is certainly helping the shops to buck the general trend of high street decline.”

Source: The Times, pay wall

“Tory MP attacks ‘politically-motivated’ headteacher after she claimed that ‘poor pupils are so hungry they are taking apple cores out of the bins’ “

Owl doesn’t care what her motivation was – it salutes her”

“A Tory MP has attacked a ‘politically-motivated’ head teacher after she claimed that some pupils from poor families were so hungry at school they ate apple cores taken out of bins.

Siobhan Collingwood said children were turning up for classes with ‘nothing in their lunchboxes’ and spent the day ‘fixated on food’.

She told Breakfast this week: ‘It’s heartbreaking.

‘We have children who are stealing fruit cores from the bins.’

Mrs Collingwood, of Morecambe Bay Primary School, Lancashire, also claimed she had seen desperate families watering down milk and loaning each other food – and linked the problems with benefit changes and universal credit.

However, David Morris, MP for Morecambe and Lunesdale, insisted the claims were unfounded and part of a campaign by Jeremy Corbyn-supporting Momentum activists in the area.

Mr Morris said: ‘Recently a governor has resigned from this school due to politicisation.’

Last night Mrs Collingwood stressed: ‘Everything I said was based on personal experience.’ …”