New bur­den for hospi­tal trust

Ex­tra £1.2 mil­lion to be paid in busi­ness rates from April

The Peterborough Evening Telegraph - - News - By Joel Lamy Twit­ter: @PTJoelLamy

The trust which runs Peter­bor­ough City Hospi­tal will have to fork out an ex­tra £1.2 mil­lion in busi­ness rates from April. The 43 per cent rise in rates will force the trust, whichlost £37.1 mil­lion in the last fi­nan­cial year, to find new sav­ings ac­cord­ing to chief ex­ec­u­tive Stephen Graves.

He said: “The trust will now need to put ad­di­tional cost ef­fi­cien­cies in place, on top of the sav­ings that we had al­ready planned for, to en­sure that we reach our fi­nan­cial con­trol to­tal for next year.”

The rise in busi­ness rates from £2.7 mil­lion to £3.9 mil­lion comes after the rate­able val­ues of busi­ness prop­er­ties was in­creased.

Ac­cord­ing­to­prop­er­ty­con­sul­tants CVS, the trust will be the third big­gest losers out of all hos­pi­tal­trusts­fromtherise in busi­ness rates.

The­com­pa­ny­said­thetrust in Peter­bor­ough will be pay­ing £1.82 mil­lion a year more on av­er­age over the next five years than it cur­rently does.

NHS trusts claim they should be clas­si­fied as char­i­ties, mean­ing they would be el­i­gi­ble for an 80 per cent tax dis­count, but this has been­re­jected by lo­cal coun­cils.

Many pri­vate health­care groups are reg­is­tered as char­i­ties and­ben­e­fit­from­such­tax breaks.

Steven Pilsworth, fi­nance di­rec­tor at Peter­bor­ough City Coun­cil, said:“It’s ana­tion­alis­sue­andtheLo­calGovern­ment As­so­ci­a­tion is lead­ing it. And we have taken le­gal ad­vice.

“Th­es­im­ple­factofthe­mat­ter is hospi­tal trusts are not char­i­ties.”

Rate­able val­ues are set by the Val­u­a­tion Of­fice Agency, a gov­ern­ment agency.

How­ever, a spokesman for the Depart­ment for Com­mu­ni­ties and Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment said the Gov­ern­ment has no in­volve­ment in the set­ting of rate­able val­ues.

MP­forPeter­bor­oughSte­wart Jack­son said he was wait­ing for a de­tailed brief from the hospi­tal trust be­fore com­ment­ing.

North West Cam­bridgeshire MP Shailesh Vara said: “Peter­bor­ough City Hospi­tal has ex­pe­ri­enced fi­nan­cial dif­fi­cul­ties for many years but I do not be­lieve that front­line ser­vices will beaf­fect­ed­bythe re­vised busi­ness rates.

“The hospi­tal’s fo­cus must con­tinue to be on get­ting out of the po­si­tion it finds it­self in, but ex­pect­ing to pay lower rates while other or­gan­i­sa­tions around it are pay­ing the full amoun­tis­notthean­swer.”

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