HC Deb 22 January 1998 vol 304 cc643-4W
Mr. Cousins

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of volunteering opportunities and jobs in uniform business rate exempt charity shops and the number of such properties; and if this relief is included in his review of charity taxation. [23683]

Dawn Primarolo

There are currently around 6,500 charity shops in the UK. These shops provide opportunities for around 175,000 volunteers. In addition, these shops employ around 8,500 full and part-time workers.

The Review of Charities' Taxation announced by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor in his July Budget has considered submissions across the range of tax issues, including business rates. However, the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions is currently to review the local government finance scheme and will shortly be issuing a consultation paper. This paper will cover the issue of business rate relief, and clearly it would not be sensible to duplicate it in the Tax Review. I have ensured that any letters received on this issue have been copied to the DETR.