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

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.

Thursday, 30th November 2017, 6:00 am
Finance Secretary Derek MacKay
Finance Secretary Derek MacKay

“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.

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