Comment: No moral justification for charges

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THEY must be out of their box. That was the verdict of charity superhero Tom Gilzean when the Evening News told him of plans by garden store Dobbies to charge charities for collecting donations in its outlets. And it’s hard to disagree.

As a major national retailer, Dobbies must understand what’s important to their customers. And while we all want good service and keen prices, we also want to know that our favourite stores do their bit for the community.

Dobbies has helped to raise substantial amounts for their nominated charities – and they should be praised for that.

But the idea that they could charge charities £400 a week, or £200 for a weekend, to raise funds would send their loyal customers into a spin.

As Mr Gilzean is well aware, raising £200 in a weekend is hard going. The idea that all of this could go towards costs is wrong-headed.

The good news is that Dobbies has now U-turned on the idea.

But, worryingly, a company which markets promotional space in shopping centres has told the News it was becoming “common practice” for retailers to charge charities who want to set up in high footfall areas.

There can be no moral justification for any shopping centre, retailer or supermarket to charge charities in this way.

Not only will this reduce the amount that goes toward the end user, but ultimately it would undermine the public’s faith in the process.

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