Following lengthy consultation with stakeholders, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay MSP today confirmed that the SNP Government will not accept the recommendation of the Barclay Review to end charity relief from non-domestic rates.
This means that leisure and cultural venues currently run by North Ayrshire Council as arm’s-length external organisations (ALEOs) such as properties run by North Ayrshire Leisure Limited, known as K:A Leisure, will continue to benefit from charity relief from non-domestic rates.
Mr Mackay also announced he will take steps to offset the charity relief benefit to councils from any new ALEO expansion in future.
The Cabinet Secretary said:
“In my response to the Barclay review I made clear that this was a recommendation that I wished to engage on before coming to a conclusion. In these discussions I have heard a strong and consistent message about the importance of this benefit to sports and leisure facilities and to keeping the costs of these services affordable especially in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.
“As a result I can confirm that the rates relief will remain in place for qualifying facilities operated by council ALEOs."
Kenneth Gibson commented:
“This is excellent news for facilities run by ALEOs that provide important leisure and cultural facilities across North Ayrshire and beyond.
“The SNP Government is committed to an active and healthy Scotland with a vibrant cultural life and will continue to support local authorities in providing affordable ways for their communities to take part in culture and leisure activities.
“I am hopeful that not having to worry about paying business rates will allow organisations like K:A Leisure to keep offering reduced rates to residents across North Ayrshire and beyond.”