Sports clubs will not face price rises

Worthing Borough Council have rejected proposals to raise block sports booking prices by 20 per cent - a move that would have threatened small clubs.

At a meeting of the Joint Strategic Committee on Thursday, councillors heard that park facilities in Worthing would be run in-house again from January, after previously handled by a contractor.

As a result, they would have to make the block bookings subject to VAT, where they have previously been exempt.

Under tax rules set by HMRC, the council have to keep the percentage of VAT exempt services below 5% of the overall VAT bill.

As Worthing already offer a high amount of VAT exempt services, including leisure and crematorium bookings, the block bookings were expected to push the percentage over the limit.

This could have made the council liable to pay back the entire VAT exemption figure back to HMRC - a figure that was £317,000 in the last financial year.

A report presented to the committee asked members to agree a 20% price rise, staggered over three years to help sports clubs cope with the added costs.

Instead, Worthing councillors voted to charge VAT but absolve the cost themselves, meaning that there will be no price rises passed on to the customer in terms of VAT.

For the full story, see the Worthing Herald, out Thursday, December 6.