Welcome for decision not to end charity relief for High Life Highland
The Highland Council and High Life Highland have warmly welcomed the decision announced today that the Scottish Government will not be accepting the recommendation of the Barclay Review to end the charity relief for arms-length bodies from non-domestic rates.
Leader of the Highland Council, Margaret Davidson said: “I wrote to Finance Secretary Derek Mackay to express our concerns and so I am very pleased to hear that he has decided not to go down this road.
“ Like many other local authorities across Scotland, Highland Council established an Arm's Length Organisation High Life Highland (HLH) to operate its leisure and cultural services. Its charitable status allows it to generate income through a number of its services which is then reinvested back into the work of the charity to cross-subsidise other areas of the organisation which cannot or should not charge. These areas include mainstream library services and delivering support and working with disadvantaged young people in communities across the Highlands and contribute to national wellbeing strategies around healthy living, obesity and social isolation.
“The removal of NDR exemptions would have resulted in an additional bill of £1.8M a year and would have had a very severe impact on Highland services when taken against an already challenging financial backdrop of reducing funding.”
Highlife Highland Chief Executive Ian Murray added:
“I am very pleased that the Scottish Government has decided not to accept the Barclay recommendations associated with organisations such as HLH. The charity already contributes to national initiatives such as preventative health, obesity and social isolation; we look forward to a positive working relationship with the Government on these and other important priorities.”