National land management charity, the Land Trust, leads call on Government for exemption under VAT Act 1994, to enable charities to deliver significant benefit to communities

24th August 2020

National land management charity, the Land Trust is leading a coalition of organisations calling on Government to add non-public bodies who manage public parks and green spaces for public benefit, to the list of exemptions under Section 33 of the VAT Act 1994, and thereby support those delivering significant benefits to communities.

In a joint letter to Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Chief Executive of the Land Trust, Euan Hall, and the Chief Executives of Groundwork UK, Fields in Trust, Landscape Institute and The Conservation Volunteers, outlined the incredibly vital part that green spaces played during the Covid-19 lockdown, why charities such as the Land Trust should be allowed under Section 33 to recover VAT, and how doing so would enhance their work, enabling them to deliver significant further benefit to communities.

Section 33 currently prevents the organisation from recovering VAT incurred undertaking the management of parks and green spaces, despite them being managed for public benefit.

This recommended change would bring far reaching and life changing consequences to the health and wellbeing of much of the UK community.

Hall explains:

“This outdated and prohibitive section of the VAT Act 1994 is a significant hindrance in being able to maximise the charitable impact we are able to deliver from the green space we manage. If charities owning and managing parks and green spaces were to be included within these VAT provisions, it would enable us to deliver significantly more health and wellbeing benefits, reduce obesity and other physical illnesses, and improve the mental health of visitors.

“Throughout this tremendously difficult period, the Land Trust, and other organisations like ourselves, chose to keep our parks and green spaces open for the communities who live and work around them to use for their physical and mental wellbeing.

“Speaking to our park users as the country continues its gradual transition out of lockdown it has become really clear the value people now place on their local green spaces and how they are now committed to using them for the long term to improve their personal health and wellbeing. We feel that the government now has a once in a generation opportunity to prove how much it values green spaces and the environment, invest in it properly and reap the economic and social value benefits.

“Green spaces, when effectively managed, have the potential to cure so many of our ills and we are therefore calling on Government to add public bodies who manage land for public benefit, to the list of organisations that can recover VAT under section 33 of the VAT Act 1994 and empower charities and other organisations like ourselves to deliver so much more to the communities we serve.”

You can read the full letter here.

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