I thank the minister for his reply to my question last week in which he announced the minimum 80 per cent relief. That is a great victory for Scottish sport as it will enable clubs to increase their investment in sports facilities and opportunities. When the relevant legislation is being drafted, will he consider including mandatory relief from water charges, which are also a considerable burden for many amateur sports clubs that do not qualify for the water charges exemption scheme?
The Executive sought to put the allowance that we are talking about into the system. It is a victory for sports clubs, although they were pushing at an open door in relation to the Scottish Executive's view of the matter. We wanted to make the announcement early so that clubs could be aware of the substantial assistance that the allowance will bring to them when they are doing their financial planning for next year. The initiative will allow clubs to spend their hard-earned cash on other activities, such as encouraging talent and excellence in sport.
The issue of water rates is one for further discussion with the relevant minister.
Does the minister accept that the burden falls not only on local community clubs but on national organisations that are trying to develop sport at a
The relevant minister should get back to Mr MacAskill on that point. We are targeting sports clubs whose ability to function will be greatly assisted by the measure that we are discussing. Community sports clubs fall into that category but I would take some convincing that the larger organisations that Mr MacAskill mentions do.