The Welsh Government launched a consultation seeking views on charitable rates relief for schools and hospitals in Wales. The consultation discussed the role of charitable relief in supporting schools and hospitals, looking at the types of bodies which receive relief and whether it is appropriate that some schools and hospitals receive charitable relief while others do not. While the consultation is focused on charitable relief for private schools and hospitals, the Welsh Government also sought views on other approaches which might help to ensure that charitable relief is targeted effectively.
Currently in Wales, charitable relief accounts for over £60 million of the Welsh Government support provided to help organisations with their non-domestic rates bills. The consultation notes that in Scotland, legislation is being introduced to restrict charitable business rates relief from mainstream independent schools from September 2020. No current changes to charity reliefs are planned in England but a review on business rates generally is expected. In Northern Ireland there has been a consultation on the future of business rates, with exemptions (including the charity exemption) within scope.
CTG, in association with the Charities’ Property Association, responded to the consultation highlighting concerns that removal of rates relief for private schools and hospitals risks the creation of a two-tier status for charities with tax reliefs applicable only to the most “deserving charities”. CTG also called for the Welsh Government to confirm its support for mandatory charity rates relief to be confirmed for all charities going forward.