North East Wales

Flintshire Scouts' rates review call backed by councillors

Flintshire Scouts Image copyright Flintshire Scouts

Scout groups could avoid having to pay business rates after councillors backed a call for a U-turn in policy.

A petition supporting Flintshire Scouts, who wanted the decision reversed, was signed by 10,500 people.

The discretionary rate relief policy changed in April, leaving Scout groups with a bill of up to £570 a year, but on Tuesday, councillors backed a motion giving rate relief to certain groups.

Scouts district commissioner Richard Hebden said it was "a big success".

At present, Flintshire's Scouts group now pay 20% towards their rates - varying from £150 to £570.

Among those who backed the call to scrap the charge was Chief Scout Bear Grylls, who said the move was "not right".

Image copyright Sam Wilde
Image caption Chief Scout Bear Grylls called on people to support the petition

At a meeting on Tuesday, councillors backed a motion to give business rate relief to organisations using premises with rates of less than £6,000.

It is not known whether the council would be able to retrospectively reinstate the relief for the current financial year if the plans go ahead.

Mr Hebden said: "It's very positive news. It [the campaign] got massive traction very quickly and got people talking.

"I'm very pleased with the outcome - groups are constantly raising money so another £500 is very difficult.

"Our focus is getting the kids doing things, being adventurous, having fun - we don't want them spending their entire time fundraising."

A report will go before a full council meeting in February, ahead of a final decision.

Flintshire council is also going to write to the Welsh Government asking for the matter to be addressed in legislation.

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