Local MSP Maree Todd, SNP, has welcomed the announcement from the Scottish Government that local leisure and culture venues are to continue to have rates relief.
Derek MacKay, Finance Secretary in the Scottish Government, having consulted those involved with the facilities announced that he was not going with the recommendation from the Barclay Review which wanted to end the relief.
The facilities are run by arm’s length council organisations (ALEOs).
Maree Todd said:
“I welcome the announcement today that rates relief will remain in place for qualifying facilities operated by council AELOs.
“Following lengthy consultation with stakeholders, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay today confirmed that the Scottish Government will not be accepting the recommendation of the Barclay Review to end this benefit.
“Derek Mackay made it clear that this was a recommendation that he wished to engage on before coming to a conclusion. I think this was the right approach to take.
“Sports and leisure facilities play an important role in keeping our nation fit and healthy. Arts venues contribute to a vibrant cultural life. It is therefore important that the costs of these services are kept affordable so that everyone can access them, especially those in disadvantaged or vulnerable communities.”
Derek Mackay also announced he will take steps to offset the charity relief benefit to councils from any new ALEO expansion in future.
Derek MacKay said:
“We are committed to an active and healthy Scotland with a vibrant cultural life and we will continue to support local authorities in providing affordable ways for their communities to take part in culture and leisure activities.
“I am aware that some councils are planning to increase the numbers of ALEOs and the number of facilities no longer paying rates. It is my intention to mitigate against this by offsetting any further charity relief benefit to councils to deter future ALEO expansion.”