Page last updated at 00:47 GMT, Monday, 16 November 2009

Council admits charity tax error

New Oldham Council logo
The council admitted it had made a mistake

A hospice in Oldham that was facing a shock £8,000 rates bill will no longer have to pay the tax after the council admitted it made a mistake.

Dr Kershaw's Hospice calculated the bill after being told by Oldham Council that it was withdrawing an award of discretionary rate relief (DRR).

Now the authority has admitted it was wrong to withdraw the benefit and it has been reinstated.

The council is reviewing other recent decisions for similar errors.

Dr Kershaw's Hospice is charity which provides palliative care for adults with non-curable life-threatening illnesses.

It has operated in the town since 1988 but in September was informed by the council that it would no longer receive DRR on its building rates.

The decision to withdraw the award to Dr Kershaw's Hospice was incorrect
Charlie Parker, Oldham Council chief executive

The hospice building and its three shops were previously exempt from building rates.

Oldham Council blames an "administrative error" for the sudden decision to revoke rate relief for the charity.

Chief executive Charlie Parker said: "The DRR is part of a wide-ranging package of financial assistance that we provide for local businesses and charities, and the level is regularly reviewed.

"The decision to withdraw the award to Dr Kershaw's Hospice was incorrect.

"It has enjoyed this relief since 1988 and it will be reinstated with immediate effect.

"I would like to reiterate our support and goodwill for Dr Kershaw's, which has provided assistance for countless patients, families and carers for more than 20 years. Their work is absolutely invaluable."

Under the Local Government Finance Act 1988, local authorities have the power to exempt non-profit-making organisations from rates.

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