Charity shops in Manchester 'could close' if charged commercial disposal rates

Plans by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to restrict free tipping for charities have been criticised by the Charity Retail Association

The Charity Retail Association has warned that charity shops in Manchester could be forced to close after the local council announced plans to charge them commercial rates for rubbish disposal.

The CRA said it feared that several of its members’ charity shops would shut down if the Greater Manchester Combined Authority went ahead with a measure to restrict free tipping for charities.

Charities are currently allowed to tip household donations that are not suitable for resale or reuse for free. But under the new measures, the GMCA would charge charities commercial rates to dispose of their waste if they visited the tip more than 12 times in a year.

In a statement, the CRA said it was calling on the GMCA to reverse this decision, which it described as "short-sighted and discriminatory".

It said: "Charity shops reuse or recycle 330,000 tonnes of textile material alone and save councils about £27m in landfill tax every year. By charging them to dispose of public donations – household waste, in other words – it will undoubtedly restrict their ability to raise funds for good causes."

It said charities had not been consulted on the changes and had not been given long enough to prepare.

Robin Osterley, chief executive of the CRA, said: "We are disturbed to learn of this development, which, if implemented, may well mean that several charity shops in the Great Manchester area face closure.

"We are calling on the combined authority to reverse this decision. Shop closures not only affect jobs and the ability of our members’ charities to raise money for good causes, but will also have a negative environmental impact and increase the amount of goods going into landfill – ironically costing the local authority more in landfill tax."

A spokeswoman for the GMCA said that, under the new scheme, as well as being able to tip 12 lots of household waste a year per shop before being charged commercial rates, charities would also be able to tip separated paper and card to be recycled for free.

She said GMCA data suggested 12 times would be enough for charities to avoid having to pay for additional tips.

"The main changes are designed to encourage charities to separate their waste correctly so that it can be recycled," she said.

The changes had been made "to combat rising costs of waste disposal becasue some charities are not separating their waste to allow us to recycle it", she said.

She said similar permit schemes were in operation across the UK.

"I would urge charities that are concerned about the amendments to the terms and conditions to contact the waste and resources team directly, because we fully support the important work they do in giving household waste a new purpose though the charity shop sales," she said.

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