If the NHS is not a charity why are private providers?

It seems to have received little publicity but I have to say I’m pleased that the government is going to be taken to court over rates bills.


Hospitals in England and Wales will pay a combined £408.6 million in business rates this year – a rise of 42.8% since 2017 when the Government carried out a revaluation of all commercial premises, research by rates specialists Altus Group.

Private hospitals are not businesses but charities so are unsurprisingly exempt from business rates. Yet surely NHS hospitals are not businesses either?

It is another example of a puposely skewed unlevel playing field where the NHS is looked upon to ‘compete’ with private hospitals but with automatically higher overheads. It is contrived legislation.


Private schools also benefit from the tax break, along with Free Schools – although local authority schools still have to pay rates.

This is another topsy turvy regulation – the more you run your school along business lines the less you have to pay business rates.

And all this legal action is basically the government suing itself because they all think that money is short.

Deception and misunderstanding is complete. Even branches of government don’t seem to realise who creates money.

And if the government fails to resource local authorities adequately as it is now doing, local authorities might be even worse off.

And all the idiots in government can talk about is Brexit.

They seem unaware that charity begins at home.


  1. Bill Hughes -

    I am shocked by your report of the NHS and local authority schools having to pay rates but private hospitals, private schools, Free Schools etc are treated as charities and so are exempt. As someone who tries to follow what is going on fairly closely and being ignorant of this, there must be thousands and probably millions of people who also are unaware but if they were would be up in arms about this monstrous Tory con-trick of public bad, private good mantra……..

  2. Peter May -

    I agree – I was also shocked to discover it. And it’s such a waste of time and resources with the government effectively taxing and then taking to court – itself.

  3. Michael Green -

    Am I right that this is also true for schools? State schools pay business rates? Private schools get relief? If so, what is the status of hybrids, e.g. Catholic schools? Or forcibly academised schools, which are run by a charity as a front?

    1. Peter May -

      As I understand it all private schools and academies don’t pay and local authority schools always do. The local authority is usually and sometimes entirely paying rates to itself. I confess I’m unsure about Catholic schools as I don’t know if any are run by LAs but I suspect they don’t because thery are probably a sort of charity again..
      The whole system is crazy!

  4. John Higson -

    I’m surprised that contributors here also appear to be surprised that NHS hospitals pay business rates but, given the relative lack of coverage, maybe I shouldn’t be. Still, as long ago as 2016, The Guardian published a story saying that ‘At least 80 NHS trusts in England have written to local authorities claiming they are eligible for an 80% discount on business rates through a loophole in the tax system. ‘. The clue as to why this happens is in the name of the outrageous charge, BUSINESS rates. NHS hospitals are NOT businesses, even though the Tories and the most recent Labour government want them to be. The rates are just one part of this lousy approach to the NHS, ‘finance charges’ paid to the NATIONAL government for much NATIONAL Health Service borrowing is another.

    1. Peter May -

      Agreed. Yet again a misunderstanding of money…

  5. Pingback: Today's Lefty Insistence – Government Are Total And Entire Idiots | Continental Telegraph
  6. A. Pessimist -

    Wow! The Continental Telegraph is great entertainment! I don’t understand how it appeared here but thanks to whoever put it there.

  7. Peter May -

    As you say!
    It’s Worstall from the IEA delivering his specious arguments with the customary sleight of hand ….

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