MOAR BBC Panorama John Sweeney WIN

UkAnony

Patron Meritorious
Scientology receives local rates relief on properties


By John Sweeney
BBC Panorama

The Church of Scientology has received millions of pounds of business rates relief and tax breaks in Britain.

The controversial organisation, which counts Hollywood celebrities among its high-profile members, boasts of having over 11 million square feet in property worldwide, but some ex-members call it a cult.

The Church is not classed as a religion under Charity Law by the UK Charity Commission.

In 1999, the Commission ruled that it did not pass the "public benefit" test required for advancing religion as a charitable purpose.

But Westminster City Council classes the Church as a "non-registered charity" as it is "beneficial to the community."

It gives the church mandatory 80% rates relief on its London Celebrity Centre on Leinster Gardens, saving the church £165,303 over the past 10 years.



Philanthropic purposes
The law states that to be eligible for consideration, the ratepayer must be a non-profit making body and the property used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or used wholly or mainly for recreation by a not-for-profit club or society.

Several UK councils where the Church of Scientology owns property have allowed the organisation to accumulate at least £1.4m in rates relief over the past decade, according to a BBC Panorama investigation.

A Church website also states it received more than $32m (£20m) in 2007 in VAT rebates from British tax authorities.

The City of London Corporation granted the Church's London headquarters on Queen Victoria Street mandatory 80% rates relief on the grounds that it is "a charity or other organisation established for charitable purposes" and that "the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes."

The centre was opened in 2006 in a lavish ceremony attended by Hollywood A-lister and leading Scientologist Tom Cruise.

From 2006 until the end of the current tax year, the City of London tax break amounts to £1.3m in savings for Scientology.

But other councils where the Church has buildings, such as Manchester City Council and Mid-Sussex District Council where the Church has its Saint Hill estate, charge the full commercial rate on the church's facilities.



'Not a cult'
In a High Court ruling in 1984, Judge Latey labelled the Church of Scientology a "cult", "corrupt, sinister and dangerous...out to capture people...and brainwash them."

The Church's credibility in Britain was given a gesture of political support in 2005 from Tory MP Charles Hendry, who is now a climate change minister.

Mr Hendry's Sussex constituency borders the church's estate at Saint Hill in East Grinstead and as a shadow minister, he told the House of Commons, "although Scientology may be very controversial… undoubtedly, as human beings they do a great deal of good…certainly as an organisation it has gone through serious hoops in terms of making sure it has the right to broadcast on television, satisfying the broadcasting commission that it isn't a cult."

Mr Hendry said he was not expressing a personal opinion and that his comments were intended to represent the views of his Scientology constituents.

The Church of Scientology is considered a religious organisation in America for tax purposes.


...
 

Dulloldfart

Squirrel Extraordinaire
Excellent.

But what is this article exactly? I haven't investigated it at all. I can see it says it is authored by John Sweeney, after research from the Panorama team (no doubt with a bit of help from some exy friends in the first place :)). But I thought Panorama was a TV program, not so much a web site with articles to be read.

I must say that I watched the "Secrets of Scientology" Panorama program live using the BBC iPlayer facility, as I don't have a TV and have no intention of getting one. That is the first time I have used iPlayer, and it's pretty neat. It lets you (in the UK) view some BBC programs from the past three of four days, or download them for later viewing, although the files are DRM'd and expire and die after 30 days.

Paul
 

AnonyMary

Formerly Fooled - Finally Free
Roland, Blubell and london Anons......

Autumn%20Leaves%20Stamps%20-%20Good%20Job.jpg
 

British Mom

Patron with Honors
Money given to the Cult

Scientology receives local rates relief on properties


By John Sweeney
BBC Panorama

The Church of Scientology has received millions of pounds of business rates relief and tax breaks in Britain.

The controversial organisation, which counts Hollywood celebrities among its high-profile members, boasts of having over 11 million square feet in property worldwide, but some ex-members call it a cult.

The Church is not classed as a religion under Charity Law by the UK Charity Commission.

In 1999, the Commission ruled that it did not pass the "public benefit" test required for advancing religion as a charitable purpose.

But Westminster City Council classes the Church as a "non-registered charity" as it is "beneficial to the community."

It gives the church mandatory 80% rates relief on its London Celebrity Centre on Leinster Gardens, saving the church £165,303 over the past 10 years.



Philanthropic purposes
The law states that to be eligible for consideration, the ratepayer must be a non-profit making body and the property used for charitable, philanthropic or religious purposes, or concerned with education, social welfare, science, literature or the fine arts, or used wholly or mainly for recreation by a not-for-profit club or society.

Several UK councils where the Church of Scientology owns property have allowed the organisation to accumulate at least £1.4m in rates relief over the past decade, according to a BBC Panorama investigation.

A Church website also states it received more than $32m (£20m) in 2007 in VAT rebates from British tax authorities.

The City of London Corporation granted the Church's London headquarters on Queen Victoria Street mandatory 80% rates relief on the grounds that it is "a charity or other organisation established for charitable purposes" and that "the property is wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes."

The centre was opened in 2006 in a lavish ceremony attended by Hollywood A-lister and leading Scientologist Tom Cruise.

From 2006 until the end of the current tax year, the City of London tax break amounts to £1.3m in savings for Scientology.

But other councils where the Church has buildings, such as Manchester City Council and Mid-Sussex District Council where the Church has its Saint Hill estate, charge the full commercial rate on the church's facilities.



'Not a cult'
In a High Court ruling in 1984, Judge Latey labelled the Church of Scientology a "cult", "corrupt, sinister and dangerous...out to capture people...and brainwash them."

The Church's credibility in Britain was given a gesture of political support in 2005 from Tory MP Charles Hendry, who is now a climate change minister.

Mr Hendry's Sussex constituency borders the church's estate at Saint Hill in East Grinstead and as a shadow minister, he told the House of Commons, "although Scientology may be very controversial… undoubtedly, as human beings they do a great deal of good…certainly as an organisation it has gone through serious hoops in terms of making sure it has the right to broadcast on television, satisfying the broadcasting commission that it isn't a cult."

Mr Hendry said he was not expressing a personal opinion and that his comments were intended to represent the views of his Scientology constituents.

The Church of Scientology is considered a religious organisation in America for tax purposes.


...

:omg: this is just awful, The Church of Sceintology should give us our money back, I cant even afford the air fare to try & see my daughter again, the one that they (Scientology) made disconnect from her Mother, sick, sick, sick :yes::yes:
 

hartley

Patron with Honors
But I thought Panorama was a TV program, not so much a web site with articles to be read.
IIRC this subject was mentioned briefly in the Panorama program, here Sweeney gives some tl;dr data.
Multimedia presentations are becoming normal, and a good thing too.

For the full details see Roland's writeup:

http://www.xenu-directory.net/opinions/20100622-rashleighberry-roland.html

It is taking a lot of digging using the Freedom of Information Act to expose the disorganised and disunited response of local authorities to cult demands for subsidies. In the end the fault lies with Parliament, which has devolved responsibility for collecting Business Rates to local authorities but does not ensure that they do so properly.
 

UkAnony

Patron Meritorious
IIRC this subject was mentioned briefly in the Panorama program, here Sweeney gives some tl;dr data.
Multimedia presentations are becoming normal, and a good thing too.

For the full details see Roland's writeup:

http://www.xenu-directory.net/opinions/20100622-rashleighberry-roland.html

It is taking a lot of digging using the Freedom of Information Act to expose the disorganised and disunited response of local authorities to cult demands for subsidies. In the end the fault lies with Parliament, which has devolved responsibility for collecting Business Rates to local authorities but does not ensure that they do so properly.


And the Wiki
http://wiki.whyweprotest.net/UK_Business_Rates_Project
 

RolandRB

Rest in Peace
IIRC this subject was mentioned briefly in the Panorama program, here Sweeney gives some tl;dr data.
Multimedia presentations are becoming normal, and a good thing too.

For the full details see Roland's writeup:

http://www.xenu-directory.net/opinions/20100622-rashleighberry-roland.html

It is taking a lot of digging using the Freedom of Information Act to expose the disorganised and disunited response of local authorities to cult demands for subsidies. In the end the fault lies with Parliament, which has devolved responsibility for collecting Business Rates to local authorities but does not ensure that they do so properly.

Yes, this is essentially the problem. The local authorities get the wool pulled over their eyes by the cult and make a decision in the cult's favour and then that is an end to the matter. The local authority does not have an obligation to correct such an error or revisit their decision and furthermore are not interested in doing so and since responsibility has been devolved to them then central government can do nothing either. I'm not sure anything can be done to correct the situation except to report it as fraud since the cult is claiming tax relief on premises which are used for auditing and training at a cost which is obviously not of public benefit.
 

Freeminds

Bitter defrocked apostate
The level of incompetence and obstruction gets worse when a council is allowed to outsource the collection of business rates. For example, the Idle Org on Queen Victoria Street. The City of London has appointed Liberata UK Ltd. to collect business rates on its behalf, so I doubt the council knows anything much at all.

Liberata UK Ltd.
Floor 8
Downstream Building
No 1 London Bridge
London
SE1 9AJ
 
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