AROUND 140 charities and not-for-profit organisations have benefited to the tune of more than £110,000 after being awarded rate relief, says South Lakeland District Council (SLDC).
SLDC has the freedom to award rate relief to any business if the council deems it 'reasonable with regard to council tax payers’ interests'.
In 2013/14 the council said that it agreed to give rate relief to a wide variety of bodies throughout South Lakeland, including community groups, sporting associations, health trusts and arts organisations.
The total amount of rate relief awarded came to £111,427.
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One of the organisations to benefit is the Westmorland County Football Association, which was given a 50 per cent rate relief totalling £3414.75.
Peter Ducksbury, chief executive of the of Westmorland County Football Association, said the money it saved due to rate relief was put towards training programmes, coaching and refereeing that benefited young people from all over South Lakeland.
He said: “The scheme is certainly beneficial to us as it enables us to keep the overhead costs of our training programmes to a minimum.”
Stricklandgate House in Kendal, which rents office space to a variety of charitable organisations, saved £6699.80 through rate relief.
Dr Colin Reynolds, trustee and former chair of Stricklandgate House Trust, said: “We make our income entirely from letting office space to registered charitable organisations. They are all under pressure and the price they can get accommodation for makes a big difference to them. The rent we are able to charge is subsidised by our rate relief and we are very, very grateful on behalf of our tenants and for ourselves.”
Coun Graham Vincent, SLDC’s portfolio holder for Health and Wellbeing, said: “There are a lot of people doing great work for the community in South Lakeland via an active network of charities and not-for-profit organisations.
“In many cases they play an important role in looking after the health of the district, or providing entertainment and activities for the whole community.
“The organisations that have been granted discretionary rate relief play an important part in making South Lakeland a great place to live and work for everybody. We are really glad that we are able to do something to support them and make a contribution to the great work they do.”
Applications forms for discretionary rate relief can be downloaded at http://www.southlakeland.gov.uk/business-and-trade/business-rates/rate-relief/