Royal Blind welcomes rates relief protection for special schools in budget

Press Release | 15/12/2017

Royal Blind welcomes rates relief protection for special schools in budget

Royal Blind has welcomed the announcement in the budget statement today by Finance Minister Derek Mackay that independent special schools will not be affected by the decision to remove business rates relief from independent schools.

Royal Blind is Scotland’s largest charity supporting people with vision impairment. The charity runs a number of services for blind and partially sighted people, including the Royal Blind School. Earlier this month, Royal Blind highlighted concerns that the proposals in the Barclay Review of business rates would have negatively impacted the charity’s ability to provide education for vision impaired pupils.

Mark O’Donnell, Chief Executive of Royal Blind said:

“We welcome the announcement from Derek Mackay that changes to business rates relief for independent schools will not affect independent special schools providing vital educational opportunities for children with disabilities. If the Royal Blind School had become liable to pay business rates this would have resulted in an additional cost of over £100,000 a year to the school. The Royal Blind School already relies on charitable donations to carry out its work.

“We are pleased that the Scottish Government has recognised the particular and vital role that independent special schools provide for pupils with disabilities, and look forward to continuing this work with the support of Ministers in the future.”

ENDS

Note to Editors:

1.      The Draft Scottish Budget 2018-19 states: Following engagement with stakeholders the Scottish Government has accepted the remaining Barclay Review recommendations, with the exception of the recommendation to curtail charity relief entitlement for universities. This acceptance includes the removal of charity relief eligibility for independent schools from 2020-21, excluding special schools.