A 22,191 name petition has been handed in to the Welsh Assembly to save Welsh charity shops.
The petition with record number of signitures of any from the retail sector is calling upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to reject proposals, which will restrict the vital business rate relief for Welsh Charity shops.
Warren Alexander, chief executive of the Charity Retail Association, the voice of charity retail in Wales, presented the petition, along with campaigners including representatives from Welsh charity organisations WCVA, Tenovus, Oxfam Cymru, Paul Sartori Foundation, Ty Hafan, Cats Protection, Marie Curie, British Red Cross and Hospies Cymru and Assembly Members Alun Ffred Jones, Eluned Parrott, Mark Isherwood, Nick Ramsay, Mark Drakeford, Julie Morgan and Russell George*.
Warren Alexander said: “We are deligted with the public support, over 22,000 signitures is a huge amount for a public petition such as this, and emphasises the strong opposition from both the charity sector and general public in Wales, as well as the huge support and affection Welsh people feel for their charity shops.”
Over 250 Welsh charity shops took part, including the following organizations: British Heart Foundation, Arthritis Research, Barnardo’s Cancer Research UK, Bobath Children’s Therapy Centre Wales, British Red Cross, Cancer Research Wales, Cats Protection, Kidney Research, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Oxfam, Paul Sartori Foundation, PDSA, Save the Children UK, Scope, Tenouvus, Ty Hafan and YMCA.
The petition was presented to William Powell chair of the National Assembly’s Petitions Committee on the steps of the Senedd on Wednesday 9th January. It reads: “Charity shops make a vital contribution to raising income for a huge range of good causes in Wales. 100 per cent of their profits go to charity, raising over £12 million every year in Wales.
Proposals which reduce business rate relief for charity shops in Wales will reduce this income, and will cause charity shops to close, leaving more empty shops on Welsh high streets and threatening 700 full time jobs and 9,000 volunteering opportunities offered by charity shops in Wales. It will significantly reduce the services that charities are able to provide in Welsh communities.
We call upon the National Assembly for Wales to urge the Welsh Government to reject proposals which will restrict the vital business rate relief for Welsh charity shops.”