THE leader of East Staffordshire Borough Council has spoken out over claims the authority is set to review the special relief it offers to charities and support organisations.
Julian Mott (pictured) contacted the Mail after it was revealed earlier this week that council chiefs were set to re-evaluate a discretionary rate relief scheme – an initiative which allows groups such as the Midlands Air Ambulance, based in Tatenhill, to pay a reduced level of business rates and divert the cash saved into its projects.
Councillor Mott explained more about the rate relief scheme, revealing the review was a course of action regularly undertaken by the authority.
He said: “There has been no change in policy since the change of administration.
“This is a planned review that takes place every few years and was planned when the Conservatives still controlled the council.”
The Labour councillor also said Burton MP Andrew Griffiths, who branded the potential plans as ‘appalling’, should meet with chief executive Andy O’Brien face to face to discuss the matter.
Councillor Mott (left) also revealed that all charities could get an 80 per cent business rate relief, meaning they only have to pay 20 per cent of the normal tariff.
The borough council can decide to give charities discretionary rate relief of this 20 per cent and, as a result, many charities in East Staffordshire do not pay any business rates at all.
Decisions on individual cases are made on their merits, Councillor Mott said.
The council regularly reviews its policy over rate relief to charities – the last review was held in 2011 when the Conservatives controlled the council.
Another review is due to take place later this year, when the leader of the council will rule on whether or not to make any changes.