Speaking after the Finance Minister’s statement on his proposals for non-domestic rates reform, SDLP East Derry MLA Gerry Mullan says that the Minister’s proposals to introduce rates for charity shops will impact on some of the most vulnerable and poor in society.
“The impact the Ministers proposals will have on charity shops and their ability to provide services in our communities is a major area of concern especially as we are witnessing increasing levels of deprivation and poverty across the North.
“The proliferation of charity shops in some high streets is clearly a sign of the failure to attract new retail offerings. That is not, however, the fault of any charity and should not in itself detract from the great work these groups have been doing for decades. Nor should it be used as an excuse for a blanket approach for the reduction of rates exemptions.
“I know that organisations such as Saint Vincent De Paul redirect all revenue raised back into the community to help some of the most vulnerable and marginalised in our society. A rates bill takes away their ability to do this important work.
“There is a risk that all charity shops are being tarred with the same brush under the Ministers proposals and it will ultimately be those most disadvantaged who will lose out.