Friday 17 February 2017

Business rates: some unlevel playingfields

I've just become aware that NHS hospitals have to pay business rates.  A current revaluation of property values means that the worst affected, Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, will find its rates bill more than double to £6.9m a year.

Private hospitals also pay business rates, but most of them are registered charities, so they get an 80% reduction.

Apparently local authority schools also pay business rates.  But Academies, would you believe, are also regard as charities and so they too  get an 80% reduction.  It's worth noting that some Academies pay their heads fancy salaries well over £100 000 a year, and one Multi Academy Trust (MAT) with 28 schools pays its CEO a not very charitable-sounding £370 000 a year.(see here)

I suppose Eton gets an 80% reduction too, along with all the other posh public schools

You couldn't make it up.

Postscript: (added 21st February)

John Thow has started a petition on this topic with respect to the NHS (see third comment below.)  You can access it directly at


  1. No wonder the NHS is in trouble whilst those with the money laugh all the way to the bank. Sick.

  2. If this is the case make all hospitals and schools charities or get rid of this disgraceful situaion. The voter needs to know about this.

  3. I've just started a 38 Degrees campaign about this issue. Maybe you'd like to sign up and increase awareness. See

    1. I've signed your petition and put a link to it on the original article.

      However, on reflection I think that, rather than extending rate relieve to NHS hospitals, the better approach would be to take it away from the private providers. Similarly with local authority and private schools.

      Rates paid by government institutions are merely re-circulated within the government. Rates paid by private institutions can be used for public projects as determined by our political will rather than ability to pay.

  4. Whilst I tend to agree with your "on reflection" thought, it occurs to me that there are so many vested interests amongst the private providers that it would take decades to overcome the lobbying protests and litigation that would ensue from trying to remove their privileges. Lets just take the simple route and try to ensure NHS Trusts are also treated as charities.

  5. Peter,

    Thanks for your support and for the promotion of the campaign. We still need many more signatories.