Public benefit for the rich?: Merton LBC v Nuffield Health


Nuffield Health is a registered charity. Its purposes are “to advance, promote and maintain health and healthcare of all descriptions and to prevent, relieve and cure sickness and ill health of any kind, all for the public benefit.” It pursues its purposes primarily through the provision of gym facilities, including the gym at Merton Abbey. It also operates private hospitals and clinics. The facilities at Merton Abbey are mainly restricted to fee-paying members. In April 2019, the standard membership fee was £80 per month. Nuffield also offers certain limited services to non-members of the gym.

S.43(5) and (6)(a) Local Government Finance Act 1988 mandates an 80 per cent relief from business rates where “the ratepayer is a charity or trustees for a charity” and the premises are “wholly or mainly used for charitable purposes (whether of that charity or of that and other charities)”.

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