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Budget: Housing vs green space, business rate relief for sport and VAT consultation

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Parks and outdoor spaces are vital to getting more people active and we need to make sure our green space is protected and made available to benefit the nation’s health and wellbeing
– James Allen, director of policy, governance and external affairs, SRA

The Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA) has underlined the importance of protecting green spaces in the UK following the Chancellor’s Budget announcement to build 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the next decade.

While news to help homebuyers was welcomed in many quarters, it was received with caution by the sport and physical activity sector.

“The Chancellor’s Budget contained very few substantial announcements for sport and recreation, however, a commitment to building more homes – although an admirable pledge – should not come at the expense of our green spaces,” said the Alliance’s director of policy, governance and external affairs, James Allen.

“Parks and outdoor spaces are vital to getting more people active and we need to make sure our green space is protected and made available to benefit the nation’s health and wellbeing.

“We believe a national Green Spaces Panel would help protect the quality and quantity of green spaces – now more important than ever given today’s announcement.”

However, the Alliance welcomed news on business rates, which should support sports clubs.

“The Chancellor’s decision to switch the uprating of business rates from Retail Price Index (RPI) to Consumer Prices Index (CPI) from April 2018 should provide some welcome relief for sports clubs,” Allen added.

“The commitment to change the revaluation period for business rates is also positive as it should help avoid any additional steep increases in rates.

“Nonetheless, the business rates system based on property values fundamentally does not work for sports clubs which, unlike many other businesses, rely on ‘bricks and mortar’ facilities and are very often not-for-profit entities.

"A more fundamental review of the system as it applies to sport is therefore needed.”

He called on the sector to be ready to respond to the government’s consultation on the future design of the VAT registration system.

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The Sport and Recreation Alliance (SRA) has underlined the importance of protecting green spaces in the UK following the Chancellor’s Budget announcement to build 300,000 new homes a year by the middle of the next decade.
SAR,GRSP
While the 2017 Budget includes ambitious plans to build 300,000 homes a year, the move poses a threat to green spaces and recreational areas used for physical activity / Shutterstock
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