Clarity for charities on non-domestic rates
However, in a significant judgment, the Supreme Court have unanimously ruled that a health charity can qualify for mandatory 80% relief from non-domestic rates in respect of a health and fitness club it runs, clarifying a well-established legal principle.
This ruling makes clear that where a charity is using premises for its core charitable purposes, the charity should be entitled to mandatory rates relief.
This decision will deliver some much-needed reassurance to charities on this point.
The case centred upon a members-only gym in Merton, South-West London, run by health giant, Nuffield Health.
The local authority had initially withheld rating relief on the grounds that Nuffield was operating a commercial gym that had no public benefit. In particular, they argued that the membership subscriptions charged put this facility out of reach of many in the community.
However, the Supreme Court (upholding the decisions of the lower courts) thought otherwise, finding that Nuffield “plainly uses the Merton Abbey gym for the direct fulfilment of those charitable purposes”. Nuffield qualified for business rates relief, after all.
Speaking about the judgment, Charities law expert and partner, Shane Knight commented:
“Rating relief is several billion pounds a year for the third sector. Without this decision, many charities would have faced massive hardship at a time when we are all still feeling the chill wind of a cost-of-living crisis. Charities should also be aware that there is a further discretionary rating relief that they can apply for directly from their local authority.”
Sherrards Partner, Guy Morgan, observed: “The decision removes any doubt on this point. Any landlord must also take this into account, when letting property to a tenant”.
Based in London and St Albans, Sherrards Solicitors has a large team of specialist lawyers acting for charities and those in the health and social care sector.
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Successful acquisition for Minton Care Homes
Minton Care Homes is a family-run and specialist provider of residential and dementia care in the Hertfordshire and Norfolk areas.
The Sherrards Corporate team supported Minton Care Homes in the targeted acquisition of their second care home, Thurleston House, based in Ipswich, and the operating business which has since been added to Minton care Home’s growing portfolio.
The team at Sherrards led by Kiall Bagnell assisted with the transfer of the home from the previous care provider to Minton Care Homes as well as notices and correspondence with CQC.
Care home providers and immigration advice
Melissa has significant experience working with care home providers and has recently worked for a large care provider providing specialist care services for more than three decades. Recognised as a market leader in the provision of care, the care provider is committed to developing its staff and providing them with the right environment, motivation and training through which to excel. It needed to first apply for a sponsor license and then to apply for and assign the required sponsorship paperwork to prospective employees, followed by the visa applications themselves.
Care homes often need support when recruiting care workers and nurses from outside of the UK. The freedom of movement of people between the UK and other European member states, let alone the rest of the world, has been hugely impacted by Brexit, and at one time was put almost completely on hold as countries closed their borders in response to Coronavirus, further exacerbating the issue of recruitment from outside of the UK. The care sector was and continues to be highly impacted by the shrinking pool of available workers. It is estimated that 115,000 adult care workers are recruited from other EU countries. As a result, a sponsor license is essential.
Holding a sponsor license enables an employer to sponsor most types of workers from outside the UK. Only organisations, not individuals, can be licensed sponsors. To secure a sponsor license, an organisation must make an application to the Home Office and pay the relevant application fees. A sponsor licence will only be granted if the organisation can show the roles for which it is recruiting and the workers it intends to sponsor, meeting the eligibility requirements. Once granted, the organisation must also have HR systems in place that comply with onerous sponsorship compliance duties. The organisation can then issue Certificates of Sponsorship to workers so that they can apply for the required visa to carry out the role in the UK.
This type of immigration work for care home and healthcare providers is typical for Melissa and the Immigration team at Sherrards. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to our team on the details below.
Health & Social Care
Health and social care covers a diverse variety of sectors and disciplines, all with very distinct challenges and priorities.
The Sherrards’ Health and Social care team is a group of senior lawyers who are well-experienced in these various fields.