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What is the Rain Tax?

On Friday 9 April the rain tax officially became history. Scouting has been campaigning since November 2008  for protection from unaffordable rises in water bills, which in some cases threatened local Scout Groups’ very existence. 

For Scout groups who own their own properties, the change in setting water bills based on rateable value to surface area of properties would have meant increases in water bills and less money for activities. 

In some cases it would have meant possible closure where Groups’ fundraising efforts would have had to go towards paying unaffordable water bills.

The Flood and Water Management Bill, which gained royal assent last Friday has been placed on the statute books.  For Scouting in England and Wales this means water companies will have to set concessionary charging schemes for community and voluntary groups so that water bills are fair and affordable.

The legislation will be brought in as part of the Flood and Water Management Act in the next session of Parliament, in the autumn. 

Protecting the future of Scouting

Chief Executive of The Scout Association, Derek Twine said: ‘At a time when young people in their thousands want to become part of the Scout Movement, I am pleased that community and voluntary groups who are facing financial challenges are protected in legislation from unaffordable water bills. 

Scouting welcomes the manner in which this issue was dealt with by all sides, to ensure it was resolved urgently to protect Scouting’s and other community and voluntary groups’ futures. Whoever wins the general election, Scouting will press the government for a commitment on what exactly is a fair and affordable charge.’

Lord Addington, a Liberal Democrat peer who has advocated strongly for Scouting in the House of Lords said: ‘We have something here which is necessary and seems to be reacting to a real need.  I am grateful the rather unnecessary scare that the voluntary sector had about water charging has been dealt with. 

‘The answer that the Government came up with, if not perfect, was well handled.  I say a profound thank you to them because some of us felt that a lot of damage could have been caused.’

What next?

Over the next few months a public consultation will take place.  During this period consumers will be asked what they believe to be a fair and affordable charge. 

The Scout Association encourages Scouts to take part in this process where they can, and encourage others to do the same. 

For Groups that receive water bills that are significantly higher than last year, email The Scout Association Public Affairs and Campaigns team with further information so we can raise this with Ofwat on Scouting’s behalf.

Further information

Defra Press Release on concession
Flood and Water Management Act 2010
The Scout Association Rain Tax webpages

You can still help support the concession by signing up to the Rain Tax campaign below:

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