28 Nov 2017
A campaign by the Scottish Conservatives to scrap the proposed “swim tax” has succeeded, it was confirmed today.
As part of the Barclay Review on business rates, it had been recommended that council arm’s length bodies which run leisure and cultural facilities should lose their charitable status.
The Scottish Conservatives warned this would force many organisations to the wall, resulting in poorer access to facilities for people right across Scotland.
However, the Scottish Government confirmed in a briefing today that this particular element of the review would not go ahead.
It comes a day before the SNP would have been defeated in a parliamentary debate on the issue.
As part of their party business, the Scottish Conservatives tabled a motion to reject the proposals, a move backed by all other opposition parties.
Scottish Conservative shadow finance secretary Murdo Fraser said:
“This is a major victory for the Scottish Conservatives and for the Scottish Parliament as a whole.
“For weeks, we have been demanding the SNP ditches its swim tax.
“Following our lead, opposition parties were preparing to unite in parliament this week and send the SNP government a message.
“Derek MacKay has now been forced to bow to the inevitable and u-turn on his tax grab.
“Only the SNP would have even considered a tax raid on leisure centres and community facilities across Scotland.
“The nationalists have been forced to listen thanks to strong opposition from the Scottish Conservatives.”