Orkney’s MSP Liam McArthur MSP has today welcomed news the Scottish Government is set to reject the Barclay Review's recommendation of additional charges for charitable trusts.
Mr McArthur previously raised fears that any removal of rates relief for charitable trusts would have “dire financial consequences for charitable trusts, such as the Picky Trust, and their ability to deliver benefits in terms of improved health and wellbeing.”
Following pressure from opposition MSPs at Holyrood, including Mr McArthur who this month wrote to the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Derek Mackay MSP, urging him to do the “right thing”, the Scottish Government have today confirmed rule out additional charges for charitable trusts.
Mr McArthur said:
"Rather than face defeat in parliament, the government has rightly backed off a proposal that threatened facilities across the country.
“While this is certainly welcome news, charitable trusts have faced months of unnecessary worry about the potential loss of their exemption from business rates.
“In Orkney, there was a real risk that additional costs would see the Picky Trust fold, leaving Orkney Islands Council to take over operations. Given the council’s already tight budget, this would inevitably have resulted in increased costs and charges to customers, in turn reducing access to sport and leisure facilities, particularly for the most vulnerable.
"At a time when the Government urgently needs to boost the promotion of healthy lifestyles, this was never going to be a sensible move. It is good news that the plan has been sunk, but Ministers should never have left it floating for so long."