The SNP Government’s proposed ‘Swim Tax’ could see swimming charges in Perth & Kinross soar, or even mean that facilities close, the Scottish Parliament has been told.
During a debate in the Scottish Parliament, Mid-Scotland and Fife MSP, Murdo Fraser, called on the Finance Minister to meet with officials at Perth Live Active, before the Scottish Government considers removing their charitable relief and imposing a £1 million rates bill.
In a heated debate, Murdo criticised the Government for the so called “Swim Tax” which would see business rates relief removed from arm’s length external organisations.
Live Active Leisure which runs sports halls, swimming pools and gyms in Perth and Kinross would be faced with a £1 million bill if this was approved which could lead to the closure of facilities or paring back social programmes.
Murdo believes removing rates relief will result in fewer people pursuing active lifestyles, contrary to ambitions to tackle obesity.
Commenting Murdo Fraser MSP said;
“Imposing huge rates bills on organisations that provide community sports facilities is completely counterproductive, and would undoubtedly result in pared back services or closed facilities. This isn’t the way to encourage more people to lead healthy and active lifestyles.
“Live Active provides so much more than just gym halls and offers a number of unique programmes to help vulnerable and elderly residents. If swim tax proposals get the green light, then these will all be at risk.
“Live Active have made it clear in a letter to the SNP’s Finance Secretary Derek MacKay how damaging these proposals would be. I have called on him to meet with Live Active in Perth to fully understand the scope of their operations and the catastrophic impact that dropping rates relief would have on services. It’s time to axe the ‘Swim tax’.”