More than 40,000 sports clubs are set to benefit from new tax breaks as the Government tries to secure the legacy of last year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.
George Osborne, the Chancellor, will announce today that the new regime will allow sports clubs to earn more money tax free from bars, cafés and restaurants so it can be reinvested in their organisation. This will allow them to raise more funds from hiring out their premises for parties and weddings.
The Government will impose a cap on membership fees to stop wealthy golf clubs playing the tax system. To get tax relief, any club charging more than £10 a week will have to offer special discounts for people who cannot afford the fee. No club will be able to charge a fee of more than £31 per week and still qualify for tax relief.
Businesses will be allowed to offset donations to sports clubs against their corporation tax. Amateur clubs will be given more freedom to fund player costs such as overnight expenses and travel, to support promising youngsters who may not otherwise be able to afford to take play.
About 6,000 clubs have benefited from the Community Amateur Sports Club (CASC) scheme, which will be expanded. Nicky Morgan, the Treasury Economic Secretary, said: “Many of the stars of Team GB started their careers in local sports clubs and I’ve no doubt they’ll be the breeding ground for tomorrow’s British Olympic legends too. But the wonderful thing about local clubs is that they are open to anyone who wants to get involved; whether as a way of getting fit, or simply of meeting new people and making friends.”
Alex Horne, general secretary of the Football Association, said: “The scheme provides a huge boost for our grassroots clubs. It’s great to see the scheme reinvigorated in a way that provides more flexibility for amateur clubs and will allow more clubs to register to become a CASC.”
Steve Grainger, development director of the Rugby Football Union, said: “This scheme is vital to help those clubs invest in their facilities and people, whilst keeping memberships affordable, so that rugby can truly be a game for all. We welcome the changes proposed, and look forward to working on the detail to ensure the best possible outcome for clubs at this exciting time as we get closer to the 2015 Rugby World Cup.”