Final nail in Falkirk Community Trust's coffin coming tomorrow

The end is nigh for Falkirk Community Trust as Falkirk Council look to finalise arrangements to wind it up and assume its responsibilities.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2021, 2:09 pm

A report regarding the future of Falkirk Community Trust is due to be discussed at a full meeting of Falkirk Council tomorrow.

It will present a detailed project plan for the work – that has already started – to transfer the services currently provided by Falkirk Community Trust back to the council.

The report will also provide information on the consultation on the integration of trust services into the council structure and the charity/company law considerations around the winding up of the trust.

Falkirk Community Trust is currently responsible for the management of the Helix Park, home of the world famous Kelpies

Members of the council will be asked to approve recommendations to provide the local authority’s chief executive Kenneth Lawrie with authorisation to prepare and execute the steps required to complete the transfer process.

Last month former Falkirk Community Trust board members lodged a formal complaint council over its plans to bring the Trust services back “in-house”, stating they feared such a decision would mean cuts and closures for local cultural, sport and leisure services.

The decision to start work to bring the trust in-house was taken at a council meeting back in January, with a target transfer dated of April 1, 2022.

According to tomorrow’s report, the budgetary implications of bringing the trust back in-house require to be “very carefully considered”, particularly from a tax perspective given non-domestic rates, corporation tax, and VAT issues.

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The report stated decisions will have to be taken on how the council addresses the costs associated with this.

Members are warned there will be a loss of the rates savings due the Trust’s charitable status, which equates to around £1.4 million per year.

It is hoped this loss will be partially offset by a VAT benefit of c£0.2 million as, unlike the council, the trust is unable to fully recover all its VAT.

The report added: “There does, however, remain a gap in budget which is why it will be so important for the council to consider how the trust functions can be incorporated into our transformational change programme.

"The work of these functions must support our requirements under our Medium Term Financial Plan and be incorporated into our Business Plan as we go forward.”

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