Cabinet Office overturns decision to refuse permits to doorstep collectors

Cardiff Council had refused licences for two textile collection companies that had previously donated less than 10 per cent of the proceeds to good causes

Clothing collections
Clothing collections

The Cabinet Office has defended its decision to allow two companies in Wales to continue making doorstep charity collections despite them giving less than 10 per cent of the proceeds to good causes.

Support Pen-Y-Bont and Support Hollies School, which are both textile collection companies, appealed to the Cabinet Office after Cardiff Council refused to give them house-to-house collection permits. The council said it did so because the proportion of the proceeds donated to charity from previous collections was so low – 6.4 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively.

But at the council’s public protection committee meeting on Tuesday it was revealed that the Cabinet Office had ruled that there were no grounds for the refusal and permits should be issued to both companies.

A Cabinet Office spokesman told Third Sector: "Having considered evidence from the commercial collectors, the charity and the local licensing authority, we did not regard the costs involved in carrying out these collections as unreasonable.

"Without these collections we would see thousands more tonnes of textiles going to landfill rather than being reused or recycled, and charities throughout England and Wales would be deprived of much-needed income.

"If people want to maximise the amount that goes to the charity, an alternative would be to take their goods directly to their local charity shop."

The council refused to grant licences to the companies in 2011. A number of neighbouring authorities also refused permits to the same companies, but the Cabinet Office overturned those decisions too.

The council refused to Support Pen-Y-Bont’s application after a previous collection it made on behalf of Y Bont, a centre for children with disabilities and their families in Bridgend, received only £537, or 6.4 per cent, of the £8,338 proceeds.

Support Hollies School had its application turned down after the council found that it donated 8.9 per cent of its proceeds to the Hollies Action Group, which supports children with special needs.

The Cabinet Office ruling said more consideration should be given to the costs incurred in the house-to-house clothing collections process, which are higher than those for house-to-house cash collections.   

Cardiff Council was unavailable for comment.

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