NON-DOMESTIC RATES (SCOTLAND)BILL
The removal of charitable rates relief from September 2020 for the independent schools sector will have a negative impact on the schools, their family community, their public benefit commitment and on the Scottish economy.
Speaking on behalf of the Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS), the charity representing private and independent schools in Scotland, Director John Edward said: “The removal of charitable rates relief is estimated to cost the sector £7 million a year and the only way schools can realistically finance a spending hike of up to six figures per year is to increase their school fees or cut back on the widening participation provisions they have been increasing, at the specific request of the Scottish Parliament. No other set of organisations in Scotland is seeing such a precipitous tax-rise in such a short period. Worse still, the aim of the overall Bill is supposedly to make Scotland “more” competitive.
“What policy-makers have failed to consider is the wider economic, educational and social contribution the independent sector has on Scotland, including young people benefiting from partial or full fee assistance. Furthermore, the schools’ charitable remits extends to sharing facilities with the local community and neighbourhood state schools. This may well have to be frozen if schools’ budgets become over-stretched due to the cost of paying the same rates as commercial businesses, despite being not-for-profit bodies.
“The reality is independent schools exist to provide parents with an educational and pastoral choice for their children and this fivefold tax hike in a few months’ time will result in this choice being reduced – to no-one’s benefit.”