Uncovering energy savings for independent schools
24 July 2017, News release from Utilitywise
The majority of independent schools are charities. The Independent Schools Council (ISC) estimate around 1,000 of their 1,267 members schools have charitable status.
The majority of independent schools are charities. The Independent Schools Council (ISC) estimate around 1,000 of their 1,267 members schools have charitable status. As a result, relevant schools can claim up to 80% tax relief on the business rates payable on the buildings they use.
Uncovering energy savings for independent schools doesn’t have to be taxing
According to a recent article in The Guardian, the tax relief for 586 private schools including Eton College and Dulwich College will result in £522m tax savings in the next five years.
Pressure has increased in recent years for the government to change the law and strip schools of their charitable tax breaks. It has been proposed that schools need to do more to retain their tax benefit, even suggesting they start running local state schools. The response from schools has been divided. Some, arguably the largest and most financially secure, would prefer to lose their charity status so they can focus on their core operations. However, other schools would prefer to keep the tax break and look at ways to comply with government proposals.
How can independent schools mitigate the impact of tax relief changes?
As a leading provider of utility management solutions to the independent school sector we advise schools to be on the front foot. Look to their largest overheads, such as energy, to make savings so that any changes in tax relief have less of an impact on their bottom line. As well as supporting private schools to buy better we can also help create bespoke strategic utility management plans. One area to explore is bill validation. Not only to make sure schools are only paying the lower tax rate but also to sense check every other element included in their electricity, gas and water bills is correct. In addition, private schools often have a mixed building stock. This opens up the opportunity for energy efficiency projects such as lighting and intelligent building controls.
To start uncovering these savings we’re offering all private schools in the UK a free 360 Strategic Utilities Review. It’s a complimentary energy health check which turns energy data into useful insights and actual cost savings bespoke to a schools estate.