5 February 2020
SCIS statement on the passing of the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill
The 30,000 families, more than 3,000 teachers and more than 3,000 non-teaching staff in the independent sector have been left in no doubt over the support, or otherwise, they can count on.
Any cursory post-legislative scrutiny would have shown Parliament the genuine success of the 2005 Charity Act and its unique public benefit test. A widening access, means-tested bursary programme has grown that is now equal per capita to the HE sector - but one that is paid for without a penny of work of public money. The circumstances that OSCR considered to judge that work are now being withdrawn. That separates 50 not-for-profit bodies from the other 24,771 Scottish charities that receive automatic rates relief, 12,769 of which also have “the advancement of education” as their charitable purpose.
The independent sector will keep doing what it does best - for pupils from across Scotland, from all backgrounds, from all political persuasions and none. That is delivering Scotland’s highest attainment, keeping subject choice as wide as possible at all levels, exporting Scottish education to the wider world, bringing pupils from over 50 countries to this country, and making real change to lives in their extra-curricular offer, public service and well-being agendas.
If community groups, families, employers, partners in the state sector and the wider economy lose some of the support and partnerships that have been developed over the years; the dismissal of the many concerns they raised in this process will remind them why.