Golf clubs launch appeals after coronavirus grants are rejected

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 9, 2020 05:28

At least three golf clubs in Scotland have launched appeals after their bids for a total of £75,000 of emergency Covid-19 local authority grants were all rejected because their rateable values just exceeded the allowable and controversial threshold.

In March the Scottish government brought in an emergency coronavirus aid scheme for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses, including golf clubs, in which they can apply for a grant of up to £25,000 each but only if their rateable value is between £18,001 and £51,000. Similar schemes operate in the rest of the UK.

Rateable values are based on the size of land the business operates in rather than turnover, which has resulted in several golf clubs stating that the values are an ‘anomaly with regard to golf clubs’ as they are ‘over-exaggerated’ for the size of the business.

For example, Frinton Golf Club in Essex has a rateable value of £89,000 even though it employs just 13 people.

Three golf clubs in Aberdeenshire are launching appeals after Aberdeenshire Council rejected their requests for grants, reports the Evening Express.

Banchory Golf Club. Image from Facebook

Banchory Golf Club has a reateable value of £52,500, Peterhead Golf Club of £54,500 and Portlethen Golf Club of £61,500.

Banchory captain Simon Tweedie said: “We feel we have lost out due to an arbitrary threshold.

“We have consulted our MSP and had a productive meeting with our local MP, Andrew Bowie, who has indicated he will provide a letter of support for our appeal application.”

Peterhead captain Alex Buchan added: “We had no success so we have appealed to the council.

“Scottish Golf are also gathering information on clubs impacted by grant restrictions.”

And Portlethen captain David Fleming said: “We’ve appealed against our rateable value, which we feel is unfair compared to other clubs of a similar size to us.

“There has been a further tranche of Covid-19 funding made available for those who may have missed out on the first £25,000 pay-out so we are in the process of applying for that.”

The financial plight of golf clubs in Scotland is of concern to Wendy Chamberlain MP, who has written to the Scottish government to ask for help and advice.

She wrote: “As the Member of Parliament for North East Fife representing St Andrews, the Home of Golf, I am keen to see all that golf courses get support where it is needed.

“Like many businesses and organisations which are viable and thriving in normal circumstances, golf clubs and courses additional and tailored support at this time.

“Many clubs are concerned that when they reopen and un-furlough their staff, the economic support is halted before clubs have the ability to open their shops and clubhouses, leaving them in a financially precarious position with large overheads and reduced income.

“I hope the finance secretary and the sports minister will recognise the unique position golf clubs are in and consider implementing extra support and clearer guidance for golf clubs to assist them in these difficult times.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir May 9, 2020 05:28
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1 Comment

  1. Stuart M May 9, 15:03

    As a member of New Club, St Andrews and also a golf club Secretary I am in total agreement with points made and know so many within the industry have same concerns. If support is needed to get these key points to the right ears you will certainly get a lot of support from within the profession as well as from true golfers.

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