Don Foster MP*

“Sink or swim for local sports clubs,” Foster says.

Bath MP, Don Foster has made a further appeal to the Chancellor to give vital tax concessions to Amateur Community Sports Clubs in his April Budget.

Main ImageNew research published this week has shown that the number of amateur sports clubs has fallen from 150,000 to 110,000 since 1996.
Don Foster says:
“Something has to be done to reverse this decline in community sports facilities. Nationally, one in three clubs now describe themselves as being in a ‘precarious’ position. Yet the Government has been consulting to remedy this situation for the past two years.
“Local sports clubs make a huge contribution to local communities in the Bath area and they provide particularly important opportunities for young people.
“Four local sports clubs have now asked me to back them in their fight against the Government’s proposals. I am backing them to the hilt in their fight to secure the full rate relief which is vital to keep them operating.
“Last year, the Government went to the Inland Revenue for advice on how best to help amateur sports clubs, and they were told that rate relief was the best option.
“5 months ago, the Government consulted 2,500 clubs and they unanimously rejected the idea that they become charities.
“This week, a survey published by the Central Council of Physical Recreation shows that 95% of clubs opposed the Government’s proposals to change them into charities.
“Now’s the time to place your bets on whether, next month, the 110,000 sports clubs in the UK will have to apply for charitable status in order to keep running.”

Notes to editors follow…

Notes to Editors:

• The report published by the Central Council of Physical Recreation is available at Analysis of the report is reproduced below.
• 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. This rate relief saves them approx. £8,000 a year.
• 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.”
• 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, which were agreed by Ministers last January and were drawn up by the Inland Revenue, at the request of the Government, 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 making changes to the 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: 020 7854 8500.)
• The 2001 Labour Manifesto says, “We are committed to finding ways to support the amateur sports clubs to which 5.6 million people now belong.”
• In his response to Don Foster, the Financial Secretary Paul Boateng MP wrote, “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.”
• The CCPR executive summary of the report follows…

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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