Scottish Government ditches taxation plans for leisure trusts following Conservative pressure

Barclay Review recommendations to take away charitable relief from arms-length organisations such as Edinburgh Leisure and Xcite in West Lothian have been scrapped following campaigning by the Scottish Conservatives.

 

Gordon Lindhurst, MSP for the Lothian region, raised the issue in a debate two weeks ago, warning that trusts could be left devastated by facility closures, with vital services being removed if trusts were forced to pay millions of pounds in rates.

 

The Barclay Review compared the trusts to private gyms which do not offer the same services, such as the provision of physical activity to combat health conditions or offering leisure facilities at a reduced cost for less well-off families.

 

The Scottish Conservatives are due to bring a follow up debate to parliament tomorrow alongside a vote on the issue. The SNP government appear to have confirmed in a briefing that the recommendation will not be implemented, avoiding possible defeat on the issue tomorrow.

 

Gordon said,

 

“I am pleased that the government has apparently finally recognised that this tax grab would have resulted in the closure of facilities such as leisure clubs, impacting on the poorest people in society.

 

“I raised this in parliament because it could have had catastrophic consequences for the health of our nation.

 

“During the debate opposition parties across the parliament voiced opposition to the proposed change, and it became clear the government were facing defeat if they went ahead.

 

“They have now jumped before they were pushed, yet another example of effective Scottish Conservative opposition that is good news for leisure facilities across the country.”