Leeds & West Yorkshire

Calderdale Council cuts benefit to national charity shops

Councillors have approved plans to cut funding for nationally-based charity shops to save money and promote local organisations.

Calderdale Council agreed to stop Discretionary Rates Relief (DRR) support for shops with a head office or main focus outside the borough.

The change will come into effect in April 2015.

The Charity Retail Association said the national shops also had "an enormously positive impact" on the borough.

Calderdale Council said scrapping the DRR to those charities would plug a £50,000 hole in its budget, which it said was caused by reduced central government funding.

Councillor Steve Sweeney said the "general feeling" was "it is one thing to provide rate relief support to voluntary organisations within Calderdale, but it's not necessarily acceptable to use council taxpayers' money to subsidise organisations that are based elsewhere and deliver services elsewhere".

'Tough economic time'

According to a council report presented to cabinet members in January, a review of its DRR policy was "partly due to increasing demand for DRR but mainly to recent changes made by government to its rate relief funding arrangements through the introduction of the Business Rates Retention Scheme".

Under its current policy, the council contributes 25% of any relief granted and the government contributes 75%.

However, changes implemented under the Business Rates Retention Scheme mean contributions are now split equally.

The reports states that stopping DRR support for charity shops with their head offices or primary focus outside Calderdale would save £13,473.

Further cuts of almost £40,000 will also be made, including reducing the relief period from three years to two.

A Charity Retail Association spokesman said: "We understand the need for local authorities to make savings in this tough economic time; however, national as well as local charities have an enormously positive impact in the Calderdale region as well as on a national level."

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites