Chase Farm hospital has paid nearly £2.5 million in rates over the past five years and faces an increase of £60,000 this financial yearChase Farm, Barnet and the North Middlesex hospitals, in common with NHS hospitals throughout the country, are facing increased business rates, while many private hospitals, classified as charities, have their business rates reduced by 80 per cent.
This seemingly anomalous situation was revealed by Enfield Over 50s Forum in their most recent newsletter (the article is reprinted below). The newsletter questions why firms such as Nuffield Health should qualify for a business rates rebate while local NHS hospitals have a daily struggle to survive.
Unfair tax on NHS hospitals
Cash-starved NHS hospitals are taxed fully while many private hospitals are eligible for rebates. Can this be fair?
More than one in four private hospitals are claiming charitable status giving them an 80% rebate in business rates worth some £52 million over five years. NHS Hospital Trusts, on the other hand, all have to pay in full, and will face a £366 million increase in rates over the next five years.
It surely is a mad world when our local under-funded North Middlesex University Hospital will run up a deficit in this financial year at the same time as it is due to hand the government £2,361,332 in tax for business rates.
The North Mid is even paying £738,000 more than in 2016/17 due to the government’s revaluation exercise this year and it saw its business rates soar from £1,291,330 to £1,600,560 just because it opened a new, modernised maternity building offering better amenities to prospective Mums. As Victor Meldrew might say: “I don’t believe it”.
A spokesman for the Royal Free London Group based in Hampstead, which includes Barnet and Chase Farm Hospitals, said the trust is considering all of its options, both in relation to appealing against the revised rateable values that came into force on 1 April 2017, as well as potentially pursuing the charitable relief route.
In 2015-16 their business rates tax was £2,870,777, rising to £2,955,000 in 2016-17 and the rates payable in this financial year 2017-18 will jump to £3,629,091. In the last five years Chase Farm Hospital has paid almost £2.5 million to the government in business rates – £60,000 more this financial year because of the government’s revaluation – money that could and should have been used to finance the building of the new Chase Farm if it had the same charitable status as private hospitals, free schools and universities, for example.
“It is scandalous that NHS hospitals pay normal business rates but 26.9% of private hospitals, using charitable status, receive an 80% discount,” says the Over 50s Forum, which is drawing the attention of Enfield MPs Joan Ryan (Enfield North, which includes Chase Farm) and Kate Osamor (Edmonton, covering the North Mid) to the anomaly.
“We’d like the MPs to ask Ministers how a private organisation like Nuffield Health, which runs 31 hospitals and 111 gyms charging £76 a month only with a 12 month contract (there’s one in Enfield) can secure charitable status and a business rates rebate, while our hospitals have a daily struggle to survive,” said the Forum.
“If the answer is that private hospitals do not have shareholders and they reinvest all profits into their services, surely the same applies to NHS hospitals. We are told that dozens of NHS hospitals have written to their local authorities to try and claim the reduced business rates, but the Local Government Association rejected the claim, saying they are not charities recognised in law.”
Rather than just lashing out, how about explaining why the article is wrong? Can we please have reasoned discourse on PGC, not outbursts which may make a commentator feel better, but are really of no interest to the rest of PGC readers.
Charitable status isn't a freebie, those recipients have to prove why they deserve it, they don't just tell VOA they're a charity so handover an 80% discount.
Rates reflect property value. If property values go up, which they have, so do rates. This is not a punitive targetted attack on hospitals. Nor is it the case that the hosptial has been punished for investing in its property. It has built new property, increasing the value of the land holding, therefore this is reflected in its business rates increase.
It the developers behind a City skyscraper added a few extra floors, they'd get hit too. It's the same principal.
Basically the above article is little more than wild speculation and voiced grievance. How do they know Nuffield's corporate structure? How it allocates income? Distributes or reinvests profits??