Cash boost to sailing clubs

Not since the advent of National Lottery funding has sailing received such a boost, reports Nigel Cherrie

Friday April 19th 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: United Kingdom
The Chancellor's eagerly awaited 2002 Budget could throw a financial lifeline to a sailing club near you.

A statement released by the Royal Yachting Association yesterday gave details of how the budget offers a tax relief package for the 100,000 plus sports clubs across the United Kingdom.

"This is a major coup for sailing, and all sports," explained Deputy Secretary General of the RYA Edmund Whelan. "It could add up to thousands of pounds per year for individual clubs. Local businesses could start giving clubs [financial] gifts that will then be tax deductible to the business. A wealthy person could leave several thousand pounds to the club but that then doesn't come off the inheritance tax and all their interest in the bank will be tax free."

Other benefits include tax exemption for fundraising income up to £15,000, income from interest and rental income up to £10,000.

It was only hard lobbying spearheaded by Whelan that ensured our clubs will now be able to stop handing vast amounts of members money to the taxman.

These concessions were offered in pre-budget discussions last summer by the Treasury as tentative proposals. But there was a major setback when the Charity Commission offered a scheme that would allow some clubs to reconstitute as registered charities, which can be an extremely complicated procedure and certainly not as attractive as the tax relief now offered.

This in turn led the Chancellor to reconsider and start to withdraw his proposals.The Central Council for Physical Recreation (C.C.P.R.), an independent national organisation that represents the interests of all sporting governing bodies (and on which Whelan sits as a Director), made it a top priority to ensure these tax relief proposals were indeed followed through.

The Treasury was flooded by an unprecedented 2,400 letters from sporting clubs (including 300 yacht clubs), over 100 Parliamentary questions and a 148-signature House of Commons Early Day Motion.

Yesterday club treasurers were able to sigh in relief as the Budget revealed this major financial saviour.

The RYA's chairman George Clark was also delighted by the announcement. "The Government acknowledges that amateur sports clubs are the bedrock of sport in this country and that the clubs are also at the heart of community life throughout the country. The new package of tax relief is tremendously welcome, and I am particularly pleased that the relief will take effect immediately."

Edmund Whelan is available at the RYA to offer advice to clubs with questions about these concessions.

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