Support amongst 3rd sector leaders for charity shop rating proposals

The Ulster Bank & CO3 3rd Sector Index for Q4 2016 is released today.

It is a barometer of Northern Ireland’s third sector, involving a quarterly survey of CO3 members who include the leaders of some of Northern Ireland’s largest charities and social enterprises through to small community groups.

Some of the key findings include:

  • Half agree with charity shop rating proposals, as long as revenue raised goes towards developing entrepreneurship in the sector
  • 59 percent expect the Northern Ireland economy to worsen over next 12 months
  • 24 percent saw a reduction in government funding in Q4 2016
  • Only 4% think the Autumn Statement was positive for the sector

In proposals outlined in November, Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir suggested that he would consider reducing rating relief on charity shops from 100 percent to 90 percent, and would be in favour of the income being used to support entrepreneurship amongst social enterprises.

So about half (49 percent) of almost the 200 leaders in the sector surveyed said that they would agree with this approach. 38 percent said that they would disagree, whilst 13 percent said they were unsure.

Support for rating on charity shops drops considerably amongst respondents however if a commitment to direct the funding into the sector isn’t included. In this scenario, two-thirds would favour a continuation of full rates relief.

In relation to government funding, we are seeing a continuing trend of more third sector organisations experiencing a reduction ithan those seeing an increase; something that was evident throughout 2016.

Indeed, in 2017 budgetary pressures are likely to intensify. With the Northern Ireland Finance Minister set to announce his delayed Budget this month, this will more than likely mean further rounds of funding cuts for third sector organisations.

You can find the full report here.


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