John McLellan: There was a U-turn on swimming tax

Finance Secretary Derek MacKay
Finance Secretary Derek MacKay
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Last month I took a call from a friend who works closely with sports organisations, particularly the not-for-profit, arms-length organisations (ALEOs) created out of council leisure services. Scottish Finance Secretary Derek Mackay was, he reported, determined to press ahead with a recommendation to charge ALEOs full business rates which would mean prices going up.

“I’ll get back to you if we need a public campaign,” he said. I urged the council to do what it could to protect these services, but the SNP/Labour administration refused to act. Now it appears a campaign won’t be necessary, with Mackay finally rejecting the bit of the review of business rates affecting ALEOs.

SNP loyalists have been quick to suggest it was never going to happen, but don’t believe a word of it.