National Village and Community Halls Network -  Bulletin 1
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        Bulletin 6
        3 April 2017

The National Village and Community Halls Network has the support of the ACRE Network.  It's Terms of Reference can be found here.  

ACRE and the Village and Community Halls Network will not provide advice, support and information for individual halls. This is provided by the local ACRE Network members.

More information about the work of the National Village and Community Halls Network can be found here.

Rate Relief

For village halls and similar rural community halls rate relief is one of the principal benefits of charitable status.  Recent reviews and changes made by Government, which have impacted on local authorities, have caused some authorities to review their discretionary rate reliefs. 

Some village hall charities have recently lost their discretionary rate relief, some have had it reduced and some still benefit from  it.  ACRE would be interested to know the situation in your County. 

Louise Beaton, a founder member of this NVCH Network, submitted this response to the Government's Business Rates Review.

The following information applies to all village halls and can be found in ACRE's Information Sheet 24, Rates Water and Waste. Copies can be obtained from your local ACRE Network member.
The mandatory rate relief for properties occupied by charities is 80% as set out in the Local Government Finance Act 1988 Act.  In addition village halls are eligible for relief on the remaining 20% at the discretion of the local rating authority.  Similar non-charitable community buildings may be eligible for rate relief at the discretion of the district council or unitary authority. 

•     Mandatory relief: 80% mandatory relief is available to organisations established for charitable purposes only under sections 43 and 45 of the 1988 Act. The relief is available whether or not the charity is registered.  However, registration as a charity with the Charity Commissioners (for which a registration number and/or a copy of the registration slip can be used as proof) is conclusive evidence of eligibility for mandatory relief.
•     Discretionary relief: Rating authorities have discretion under section 47 of the 1988 Act to grant up to 20% further rate relief to charities or to waive it altogether.
Authorities can also give relief of up to 100% to certain other non-profit making bodies whose purposes are philanthropic, religious, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts.

Relief cannot be applied before the year in which it was granted and cannot be revoked or its level varied unless one year’s notice is given.  Rating authorities are not able to take blanket decisions to refuse relief across the board (e.g. for certain types of organisations) but must consider each case on its merits.  However, authorities are able to take decisions to grant relief across the board.

Select Committee on Charities

The House of Lords Select Committee on Charities published their Report, Stronger Charities for a Stronger Society, on 26th March 2017. A copy can be read here 

We note that the response submitted by our NVCH Network was referenced in a number of places particularly with regard to VAT regulations, access to broadband and the use of digital technology, organisational flexibility and risk aversion.  If you missed the NVCH Network submission in our previous Bulletin there is a copy on the website

We are awaiting the Government response and debate.

Charity Tax Group - IPT increase

The Treasury have advised that they will go ahead with plans to increase the IPT to 12% in June 2017.  The Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Jane Ellison MP, who has ministerial responsibility for charity taxation, gave a keynote speech at the CTG Tax Conference last month. The Treasury believe that it is too complicated to make an exemption for charities and we were told, at that event, that 12% was reasonable as it is not as much as VAT at 20%!   ACRE will continue to raise this financial burden on village and community halls; we recently contributed to an article in Third Sector which can be read here.

Background:   One of the headline announcements in the Autumn Statement was that the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) will rise to 12% from 1 June 2017 (it is currently 10%).  Further information on IPT can be found here and in the previous Bulletins. We encourage all hall committees to complete this short survey. 

VAT Review

In December 2016 the European Commission published a public consultation considering two broad options for the reform of the VAT rate system. The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has now published an interim report and has also opened a call for evidence to help develop its ideas on how to create a sustainable VAT system for the future that imposes minimal burdens on business. In particular, it is looking for:

  • evidence of how these areas cause difficulties and complexities (quantified if possible)
  • ideas for how to improve matters
  • any areas for simplification that have been missed

There is very little relating to village hall charities but ACRE will consider the best way to respond on behalf of the NVCH Network particularly in relation to:

  • Protecting 0% VAT on construction of new halls
  • The need for clear and reasonably prompt answers to questions about VH build projects eg whether 0% VAT will apply, whether a PC can recover all the VAT on a project it takes responsibility for,
  • VAT on fuel and power

The deadline for responses and evidence is in June 2017. We welcome your comments here 

Please continue to send us any thoughts and comments and we will share them with the other village halls and interested organisations that have signed up.  Please use this email.

National Village and Community Halls Network

Please continue to send us any thoughts and comments and we will share them with the other village halls and interested organisations that have signed up.  For now please use this email address.

Please keep sending us your views on our 4 priorities:
  • VAT on extensions and alterations and the possibility of a VAT Refund Scheme.
  • How funding might best be sought for capital improvements. 
  • The delivery of long-term advice and support for volunteers managing buildings.
  • The disproportionate charge for music copyright licenses where music is rarely played.
Contact us here


If your village hall committee uses Twitter to share information within your community and with other hall committees then please follow ACRE @acre_national  and use #villagehalls when tweeting.   

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