Message to not-for-profit groups with buildings in Cornwall

Posted on: 18th October 2014

Message to not-for-profit groups with buildings in Cornwall regarding a proposal in the budget papers. I just want to draw local community groups attention to page 139 of the budget papers currently out for consultation. The proposal is to remove the discretionary business rates relief scheme that many not-for-profit and charitable organisations, with buildings currently benefit from. This will have no impact on the mandatory relief scheme and if this proposal goes ahead it will not come in until 2017/18.

The purpose of this is to bring it to the attention of organisations as I know many in St Just and Pendeen that focus on the reason for being but do not have the resources for business managers and accountants and sometimes, financially they survive rather than thrive. I am worried that if groups do not become aware of this proposal, one, they will not manage to have their say on it and give evidence on how that might affect their organisation and the wider community and two, it will reduce their ability to plan for the change, if it comes in.

I have commented in previous blogs that the reduction in funding to the Council does mean that all the Council would like to do cannot be afforded. Weighing up what should and should not be a priority for funding is a challenge and there will be as many viewpoints as their are councillors! The point of this piece is not to impose my view but to ensure that committees of the many organisations locally and around Cornwall, with buildings, get the chance to provide evidence of the impact and can prepare, as soon as possible for the possible financial challenge, in a few years.

Committees, Trustees and volunteers will have to think not only about how can we reduce costs and increase income but do we need this building or could we carry out what we do and offer the community from a shared building that might also help another group? Is our building of value to a local business or would it be a good place for new housing, perhaps for local people?