The new scheme which will be introduced in 2015 will provide full exemption from payment of water rates to organisations whose annual income is less than £200,000. This is significantly more than £75,000 threshold proposed in consultation. SCVO has been working closely with the Scottish Government on the details of this scheme and we welcome the additional funding that they have committed.

Additionally, those with an income between £200,000 and £300,000 can expect to receive a 50% discount on their wholesale charges (which form the majority of the bill). This is an important measure as it will prevent a massive jump in payment if an organisation’s income increases beyond the lower threshold. The new scheme will also remove the historical element that prevented new organisations from accessing the exemption and allowed others to continue in the scheme despite increases to their income.

Those with an income between £200,000 and £300,000 can expect to receive a 50% discount on their wholesale charges

This means that there will be organisations that lose their exemption, because their income has grown to exceed the threshold or because they aren’t a Charity or CASC. A two year transition period has been proposed for these organisations to adjust to the change. SCVO will be working closely with the Scottish Government, the Water Industry Commission and other agencies to ensure the financial impact on these organisations is minimised and they receive the necessary support and advice.

There is still much to be revealed when the full scheme is announced. We hope charity shops will be exempt, the bureaucracy will be kept to a minimum and a system will be in place to prevent one-off capital grants causing organisations to lose exemption. But on the whole, the new scheme is welcome as it will deliver significant financial savings to Charities and CASCs. We will let you know the full details when they become available.