LEISURE and cultural venues run by council arm’s-length organisations (Aleos) will continue to benefit from charity relief from non-domestic rates,the Scottish Government has said.

After consultation, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay has confirmed a recommendation to remove the benefit, which formed part of the Barclay Review, will not be acted on.

Mackay also announced he will take steps to offset the charity relief benefit to councils from any new Aleo expansion.

He said: “We are committed to an active and healthy Scotland with a vibrant cultural life and will continue to support local authorities in providing affordable ways for their communities to take part in culture and leisure activities.

“In my response to the Barclay Review I made clear that this was a recommendation that I wished to engage on before coming to a conclusion.

“During these discussions, I have heard a strong and consistent message about the importance of this benefit to sports and leisure facilities and about keeping the costs of these services affordable especially in disadvantaged and vulnerable communities.

“As a result, I can confirm that the rates relief will remain in place for qualifying facilities operated by council Aleos.

“I am aware that some councils are planning to increase the numbers of Aleos and the number of facilities no longer paying rates.

“It is my intention to mitigate against this by offsetting any further charity relief benefit to councils to deter future Aleo expansion.”

The review had recommended ending charity relief from non-domestic rates for all council arm’s-length external organisations.

It also said independent schools, universities and some sports clubs should lose some of their rates relief.

The review was commissioned by the Scottish Government in March last year and headed up by Ken Barclay, a former head of Scottish operations for RBS.