The National CLT Network has responded to HM Treasury's consultation on Social Investment Tax Relief, calling for changes that would enable Community Land Trusts to attract more investment for community-owned land and property.
Social Investment Tax Relief (SITR) was intended to kickstart the market for social investment by encouraging individuals to support social enterprises and certain charities, and helping these enterprises access new sources of finance. It was introduced because it's not always easy for social enterprises to attract investment.
Currently activities including dealing in land and property development do not qualify for SITR. HM Treasury views these as lower risk activities that can generally attract investment.
But as we make clear in our response, Community Land Trusts often struggle to raise sufficient investment. We contributed to research published by Power to Change in 2017 which documented the difficulties, particularly for CLTs developing large projects.
In their study of financing for CLTs across Europe, our SHICC project partner FMDV noted that the French equivalent of CLTs are able to use various tax incentives. There is also a fantastic French initiative called Terre de Liens, which uses tax incentives to attract investment to buy up farmland for small scale ecological farmers.
Tom Chance, Director of the National CLT Network, comments:
"The Government is putting public money into our sector to help CLTs build more affordable homes. It would attract more private finance to match this if it extended SITR to cover CLTs buying land and building homes.
"I'd encourage CLTs to read our response and consider submitting their own by the 17th July, describing their difficulties in raising investment."
You can respond to the consultation here.