Non-domestic rates reform: analysis of responses to consultation on Barclay implementation

Analysis of responses to our consultation on accepted recommendations requiring legislation that came out of the Barclay Review of non-domestic rates. The consultation ran from 25 June until 17 September 2018.

17. Barclay Review Recommendation 27 – Sports relief for affordable community facilities

17.1 Question 25 relates to recommendation 27, "Sports club relief should be reviewed to ensure it supports affordable community-based facilities, rather than members clubs with significant assets which do not require relief." It is expected that 95% of current recipients will be unaffected by this recommendation. However, a small number of clubs which either have very high membership fees and / or membership policies which exclude certain parts of the community may lose relief due to this recommendation. The Barclay Consultation Paper proposed a number of reforms which could include all beneficiaries "to have inclusive and transparent membership policies, membership fees below a certain threshold, availability of the facilities to the local community or other criteria."

Question 25 - How should affordable/ community sports facilities be defined?

17.2 There were 55 responses to Question 25. The largest respondent category was Local Authorities. No Chartered Surveyors or Assessors answered this question. A breakdown of respondent categories can be found in the table below.

Table 25: Respondents Categorised

Respondent Category Number of Responses
Businesses 3
Chartered Surveyor (Private Sector) 0
Independent Education Sector 7
Individuals 7
Local Authority / Local Authority Association / Local Community 26
Other Public Sector and Third Sector 1
Private Sector Professional / Representative / Trade Body 11
Valuation Boards / Assessors / Related Representative Organisation 0
Total 55

17.3 The suggestions from the recommendation regarding fee thresholds, transparent and inclusive membership policies and availability of facilities to the local community were met with wide support.

17.4 Definitions again led to concerns being raised, in this case over what would constitute "affordability", as this was seen as subjective to the fee-payer. In addition, the definition of "community benefit" was queried, Sporta suggested the following definition "charitable, non-profit distributing, with reinvestment of any profit into communities". The Community Amateur Sports Club definition was highlighted by a number of respondents as being a potential definition upon which to base relief exemptions.

17.5 The Independent Education Sector proposed, as illustrated by the Scottish Council for Independent Schools, that "any such definition [of affordable / community sports facilities] should include the extensive sporting facilities operated by independent schools, and shared with state schools, local teams and communities as part of the explicit public benefit provisions of each school".

17.6 A number of Local Authorities and Representative Bodies highlighted that relief should not be available for sports facilities that operated a bar or sold food. This was seen to incorporate them into the hospitality sector.

17.7 The Barclay Review's intention to consult further on this recommendation was welcomed, motivated by the need for clarity on definitions.

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