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Suffolk sailing charity is hit with rates bill small businesses are exempt from

East Anglian Sailing Trust (EAST)  is being hit with a business rate bill  they would be granted relief from if there were a small business. Trustee-Tim Thomas. Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

East Anglian Sailing Trust (EAST) is being hit with a business rate bill they would be granted relief from if there were a small business. Trustee-Tim Thomas. Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

A Suffolk charity which helps disabled adults and children learn how to sail has been hit with a business rate bill of more than £800 - that it would not have to pay if it were a commercial business.

East Anglian Sailing Trust (EAST)  is being hit with a business rate bill  they would be granted relief from if there were a small business. Trustee-Tim Thomas. Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWNEast Anglian Sailing Trust (EAST) is being hit with a business rate bill they would be granted relief from if there were a small business. Trustee-Tim Thomas. Picture:SARAH LUCY BROWN

The East Anglian Sailing Trust, which this year celebrates its 21st anniversary, has to cough up 20% of its headquarter’s rateable value of £8,800, a bill of £843.04 a year.

However, if it were a small business, the charity would not have to pay anything, something treasurer Tim Thomas says is unfair.

“In order to provide the sailing opportunities for disabled and disadvantaged children and adults we need to raise between £20,000 and £25,000 a year,” he said.

“Unfortunately it is not for sexy things like new boats and equipment, it is for things like insurance and mooring fees.

“What really galls us is we get a local grant for £1,000 and then a couple of weeks later we are hit by a business rates bill.

“Last year we got stung with a bill for 20% of the balance.

“Previous years we have had the whole 100%.

“If we were one of the half a dozen businesses next to us we wouldn’t have to pay.
“IT is fairly obvious it isn’t meant to be that way but that was the way it was legislated.”

He added “It seems completely illogical to me, that a small charity is put in a worse-off position than a small business, particularly when you consider that in our case, some of our income comes from local government grants.”

A Suffolk Coastal spokesperson said: “Charities receive a mandatory rate relief of 80% from Suffolk Coastal District Council and the East Anglian Sailing Trust currently gets this help.

“There was a revaluation of all business premises on 1 April 2017, which saw many rateable values change.

“However, the East Anglian Sailing Trust premises has now seen a slight reduction in their bill this year following the revaluation.

“We are able to consider giving an additional 20% discretionary rate relief to charities and East Anglian Sailing Trust has applied for this help, which will soon be considered.

“Suffolk Coastal District Council welcomes applications from charities and non-profit organisations to consider mandatory and discretionary rate relief.”


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