MSPs meet private schools over plan to axe rates relief

Scottish government has proposed removing charitable business rate relief for mainstream independent schools

Tes Reporter

MSPs will meet independent schools to discuss a Scottish government plan to scrap their business rates relief

Members of the Scottish Parliament will meet senior figures from independent schools to discuss plans to deny them the ability to claim charitable relief from business rates.

Legislation going through the Scottish Parliament proposes changes to the collection of non-domestic rates, known as business rates.

Among the most controversial plans is the proposal to drop charitable rate relief for mainstream independent schools in Scotland.

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Members of the Scottish Parliament's lead committee on the Non-Domestic Rates Bill, the Local Government and Communities Committee, will tomorrow meet representatives from independent schools at George Watson's College, in Edinburgh.

Independent schools' tax break under threat

The host is one of the schools taking part, as are Kilgraston School, Glasgow Academy, St Mary's Music School, Hamilton College and Cargilfield Prep School. John Edward, director of the Scottish Council of Independent Schools, which represents more than 70 schools, will also attend.

He has previously written to the committee opposing the change, arguing that it runs the risk of narrowing access to independent schools, and would mean treating them differently from all other registered charities.

Local Government and Communities Committee convener James Dornan said: "The NDR Bill seeks a number of changes to the current system but the proposal to end most independent schools' right to charitable relief has undoubtedly captured much of the public attention.

"It is vital that the views of independent schools are heard as we continue to consider evidence on the Bill.”

Mr Dornan added: "The committee is always keen to get out and hear directly from those who may be impacted by new legislation, and the views provided will help inform the recommendations we make to the Scottish government."

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