Private schools in Scotland to be taxed full business rates next year

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image captionSchools such as Fettes in Edinburgh currently get relief of up to 20% on their bills for non-domestic rates

Private schools will be taxed full business rates next year, the Scottish government has confirmed.

The announcement means the schools will no longer get relief of up to 20% on their bills for non-domestic rates.

The change, recommended three years ago, will come into effect on 1 September next year.

Independent schools have warned they could be hit by a £37m bill in the first five years of the new system.

There are 51 private schools in Scotland, including famous institutions like Gordonstoun and Fettes.

Inclusion of fee-paying schools in non-domestic rate payments was recommended in the Barclay Review of independent schools.

Public finance minister Kate Forbes confirmed the new law would be incorporated into the Non-Domestic Rates (Scotland) Bill, currently in its second stage.

Additional support needs

Under the legislation, schools would lose their charity relief unless they were responsible for teaching children with additional support needs.

Speaking before Holyrood's local government and communities committee, the minister said the announcement "would allow time for those schools affected to plan ahead".

Ms Forbes added: "We've always been clear that we'll deliver this change, as recommended by the Barclay Review, and I would hope that confirmation of the government's commencement intentions will assist the sector in its ongoing planning."

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