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Scottish congregations could be hard hit by new water charges

A report to the Church of Scotland’s General Assembly in May will sound the alarm over Scottish Executive plans to stop water charge exemptions for charities which could leave hundreds of congregations short in the pocket.

Under current legislation, Church of Scotland congregations benefit from the current exemptions to charges on non-domestic water and sewerage services granted to charitable organisations. This exemption scheme has been in place since 2001 but now the Executive is consulting on a proposal that would see the exemption scrapped after 2010 if it gets the go ahead.

The report from the General Trustees will warn the General Assembly, “If the exemption is removed in 2010 then most congregations (although low users) will face very substantial costs partly due to the high level of the standing charge element of the arrangements and partly due to the relatively large roof areas of churches and halls.”

Congregational treasurers have already been made aware of the possibility of charges in an alert sent out by the Church’s solicitor in January.

The General Trustees have now written to all MSPs to gauge the level of support for a continuation of the exemption scheme.

Full story at Christian Today.

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