Charities Devastated By Water Rates Relief Blow

SNP Shadow Depute Environment Minister Ms Fiona McLeod MSP will visit the palliative care centres at Marie Curie's Huntershill Centre, Glasgow and St. Margaret's Hospice, Clydebank, to discuss the Scottish Executives plans to abolish water rates relief for charities in Scotland, and the effect this will have these two charities. Speaking ahead of the visit, Ms McLeod said:

"Marie Curie is a leading charity providing palliative care for people with cancer. Given the service they provide they are big water users, providing vital nursing care to patients.

"As of 1st April, charities across Scotland will be devastated at the increase in their water bills. Not only by the abolition of water rates relief, but if the Scottish Executive carry through their plans to have meter their supply, charities water bills will increase beyond their capability to pay.

"The largest hospice in Scotland St. Margaret's Hospice in Clydebank, for example, last year paid £3378 in water rates after receiving relief of seventy percent or £11,144. How many more cans will fundraisers be forced to shake in the street by the Lib/Lab Scottish Executive to raise an extra £11,144?

"It beggars belief that this government will insist that Scottish Water refuses relief for these life line services, when in England and Wales private, profit-making companies have to give charities relief. If ever there was a time for devolution to prove itself, this is it."

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