Aleos and private schools undermine the third sector

Private school kids

​Stay of execution for controversial bodies leads to question over their charity status 

13th September 2017 by Robert Armour 1 Comment

Aleos and private schools undermine the third sector, a leading figure has warned.

Martin Sime, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), made the claim after the Scottish Government granted private schools and aleos a stay of execution from paying full business rates.

Last month the far-reaching review said that leisure centres, some golf clubs, private schools and universities should be pay business rates like their private sector counterparts, rather than enjoy exemptions under charitable status. 

However finance secretary Derek Mackay yesterday (12 September) deferred implementing recommendations to end charitable rates relief for the controversial charitable organisations.

Mackay said he would delay the decision until further investigations into what impact the move would have.

He said: “On each of those areas I will continue engagement to fully understand the impact of and any wider implications and possible unintended consequences in these areas before outlining my position in the implementation plan I propose to publish later this year.”

Sime reiterated that while the Scottish Government should make decisions about which organisations should pay rates, the issue raised wider concerns over whether private schools and Aleos should be granted charitable status.   

“We simply ask that charity status ceases to be available to organisations which are either part of government or unable to be accessed by the majority of the population,” he said.

“Aleos and private schools undermine the whole concept of what it means to be a charity in 21st Century Scotland.”

The year-long probe into Scottish business rates by former RBS chairman Ken Barclay made 30 recommendations after the commission concluded its investigation last month.

It found no justification for private schools or so called arms-length external organisations (Aleos) of councils to continue receiving preferential business rates.

The move would bring in an estimated £50 million in additional tax income.

15th September 2017 by Lok Yue

Somebody better at maths than me can probably work out the total number of students made up from 22% of Edinburgh and 15% of Glasgow school age population. That is the number attending independent schools in our two largest cities. It is also the number of additional state school places which would have to be found if those schools closed