“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