'Rain tax' exemption becomes law

Victory is sealed for charities that campaigned against water pricing structures

Legislation that will spare thousands of charities, churches and sports clubs from huge water bills was passed last week.

The Flood and Water Management Act has exempted charities from new pricing structures introduced by many water companies, based on 2003 guidance from regulator Ofwat, that would have meant they were charged according to how much water drained from buildings.

This method of charging – dubbed the ‘rain tax' – would have led to water bill increases of up to 1,000 per cent for many voluntary organisations that own land and buildings.

A two-year national campaign led by the Scout Association and churches won the right to concessionary charges for not-for-profit groups.

The legislation granting an exemption to voluntary groups was given royal assent, the final stage of a bill's passage through Parliament, on Thursday.

Martin Dales, a spokesman for the DontDrainUs coalition, which campaigned against the rain tax on behalf of voluntary groups, said: "It is a rare achievement for ordinary people to get a government to listen and to act against unfair interpretation of the law. This is good news for everyone involved in community activities across the country."

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