The Air Ambulance Service has said it is been charged 100 per cent business rates for two of its charity shops, in what is believed to be the first instance of a local council successfully refusing to give a charity shop the normal discount.
Charity shops usually receive mandatory 80 per cent business rates relief and can be offered the remaining 20 per cent relief at their local authority’s discretion.
However, recently local authorities have started trying to charge charity shops full business rates if they are leased through a trading subsidiary.
Speaking at an event last month, Charity Retail Association chief executive Robin Osterley said while his members had so far successfully argued their case, if mandatory rate relief were to stop being offered, about half the charity shops in the country would close.
But now a spokesman for the Air Ambulance Service, which runs about 40 shops across the East Midlands, has told Civil Society News that two of its shops have been charged 100 per cent business rates.
However, he said both shops would continue to operate while paying the higher rate.
For the year ending December 2016, the latest available annual accounts, the Air Ambulance Service's charity shop income was £5.4m and represented nearly one third of its total income.