Don Foster MP*
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Foster: “Bath’s sports clubs may be penalised by the Chancellor.”

Don Foster MP is calling for the Government to keep rate relief for amateur sports clubs in Bath. The Lansdown Cricket Club and Bath Cruising Club will be under serious financial pressure if the Government changes its policy in April’s budget.

Main ImageLast January, Sports and Treasury Ministers agreed in principle to give special tax status to amateur community sports clubs. This agreement would have given amateur sports clubs across the UK the financial security of knowing they wouldn’t be made to pay large rates bills.
But after the general election, the new Financial Secretary, Paul Boateng MP, withdrew this offer and put forward a new proposal that clubs must apply for charitable status in order to get rate relief.
Don Foster says, “This new proposal should be relegated to the bottom division of Government policies, where it belongs. The most important tax exemption for any amateur club is its rate relief. In the case of Lansdown Cricket Club, this saves them about £8,000 a year.
“Local clubs really need this benefit to survive. What they don’t need is the expense of applying for charitable status. If they can’t have an exemption, the next best thing is an 80% rate relief. The Charities Commission itself estimates that only 4.5 % of the 100,000+ UK sports clubs will be given charitable status.”
The Secretary of Lansdown Cricket Club comments, “Due to the complexity of Charity Law, there’d be no guarantee our application would be successful and there would be a very real danger of our having wasted scarce club funds. This money would be far better spent on youth and community development.”
Hugh Baker (Secretary of Bath Cruising Club) comments, “The benefit that even a small club can bring to the community is considerable. We wrote to the Chancellor asking him to reconsider this proposal.”
ENDS.
Notes to Editors follow…

Notes to Editors:

• There is no consistent Government policy for the tax exemptions community sports clubs are eligible for. Local authorities such as B&NES Council currently give clubs such as Lansdown Cricket Club rate relief after their application to a committee which considers their eligibility for exemption.

• Don Foster has signed EDM 702 which states, “That this House welcomes the commitment of the Government to recognise, through the tax system, the vitally important role in our communities played by the 150,000 community amateur sports clubs; supports the view that the Inland Revenue tax proposals contained in the Treasury consultation paper provide an opportunity to achieve the aims of the Government 'Plan for Sport'; but believes that they need improving to include tax exemptions for the investment, fund raising and rental income, a mandatory 80 per cent. tax relief from business rates, and tax relief on company donations to sports clubs.”

• The original proposals agreed last January were drawn up by the Inland Revenue, at the request of the Government, and were simpler and more cost-effective. Only relatively well-off clubs will be able to afford the expense of applying and complying with charitable status (ie changing their constitution, setting up a separate organisation to run a bar facility). They are also disadvantaged in that, unlike charities, most do not have professional staff. (Source: Nigel Hook at Central Council of Physical Recreation briefing - contacts: www.ccpr.org.uk; 020 7854 8500.)

• “The Government values the role of CASCs (Community Amateur Sports Clubs) in promoting sport, health improvement and building communities and is committed to supporting CASCs in the best possible way.” Paul Boateng MP (Source: Letter to Don Foster MP)

• Community sports clubs command a membership of 5.4 million people, nationwide.

This article published: 18/09/2023

Published by Bath Liberal Democrats, 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT. Printed and hosted by JPC Infonet, 2 St Georges Works, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, BA14 8AA. Your Privacy._blank

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