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

Richard Murphy at Tax Research UK:

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 purposely 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.