Focus on protecting our green spaces for Alliance after Budget from Chancellor outlines housing plans

External sourcein Conservation & Ecology

The Alliance provides reaction to three key announcements from the Budget (22 November 2017) and reviews the implications for the sport and recreation sector.

Commenting on the Budget, the Alliance's Director of Policy, Governance and External Affairs, James Allen said:

"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. 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. As set out in our manifesto, we believe a national Green Spaces Panel would help protect the quality and quantity of green spaces, which is arguably now more important than ever given today's announcement.

"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. 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.

"Finally, we welcome the Chancellor's commitment not to change the VAT registration threshold. As a sector, we now need to be ready to respond to government's consultation on the future design of the system and we look forward to seeing the details in due course.

"Although there were no surprise announcements for the sector, as ever, there is a lot to be getting on with after today's Budget."

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