Hunts raking in the money
claiming grants, relief and payments
18th February 2021
We have recently seen reports of hunts on the brink of financial collapse and this may be the case for some badly managed hunts.
However, that’s not the impression we are getting from research into hunts taking full advantage of the Covid crisis and claiming for every possible grant and relief payment going.
If registered as a company, they are now required to keep accounts and submit tax returns. Could hunts be downplaying their income to avoid the taxman as so much of their income is received through cash in hand?
In the past, hunts have always claimed they are non-profit members’ clubs and for many years were overlooked by the tax man (in many cases they still are). However, they have now realised the benefits of registering themselves as a company. This makes them a legal entity and eligible for relief and payments.
Their income comes mainly from membership fees and caps.
Additional income comes from donations, fundraisers, events (ie PTP, Hunter Trials), government grants, council discretionary grants, landowner subsidy payments, rate relief and pest & carcass disposal.
(Some hunts also earn a considerable amount from “Fallen Stock Collection”, cattle over 24months can not be accepted. This fee can be waived for farmers who allow hunts to use their land).
Membership & Cap income
· Membership fee’s can range from £600 – over £4,000 per year/person depending on which hunt.
· Caps can vary but can be anything from £10 – £80 per meet/per rider.
· They can hunt up to 3 times per week.
· There are approximately 34 weeks in the hunting season (Aug – end of March). Depending on the hunting calendar and farmers’ crops, some hunts may start earlier or finish later, especially now they are trying to grab every hunting day possible.
So let’s do the maths, using one average size hunt, with 300 members, as a very rough example
Rough approx example :
Membership : £1000 x 300 members = £300,000
Caps : £30 x approx 40 riders = £1,200 x 3 times per week = £3,600 x 34 weeks = £122,400
Total : That’s over £400,000 per year for some of the big hunts.
“Does the inland revenue look into this”?
Then they top this up with “applied for” payments, grants, rate relief and additional income. (See below grants, relief, payments)
Claiming grants, relief and payments
Here’s a link to a document (written by a fellow campaigner) explaining rate relief and how to request a FOI to find out what your local hunt may be getting.
Link : HUNTS AND RATED RELIEFS
To claim all these extra payments on top of their annual income, they usually have to juggle around what they actually list themselves as to tick the eligibility boxes. They couldn’t exactly state their business was illegal hunting and killing, so they disguise the truth to obtain payments.
They switch between calling themselves :
- A members’ club.
- A business.
- A sports club.
- A leisure activity.
- Pest control service.
- Wildlife management service.
- Non-profit organisation.
- Even registering themselves under their wife’s name/business.
All these descriptions have been used to describe themselves in “Companies House” business registration.
Their listed directors often have interests in other businesses which are separate successful wealthy businesses but they still claim every penny they can.
So why do they do this ?
Here’s a recent article we wrote explaining in more depth about why hunts register as a company.
Link : Why do hunts register as a company
There are advantages of registering as a business :
- To disburse liability onto the business rather than an individual person or members.
- To cash in and take full advantage of any payments and grants going, even EU landowners subsidies.
We won’t overwhelm your mind by going into details about eligibility criteria and applying.
Here’s an example :
The Derwent Hunt
Other Additional Income
Additional income comes from : Donations, Fundraisers, Events, Council discretionary grants, Land owners subsidy payments, Rate relief and Pest & Carcass disposal.
Land owners subsidy payments can be as much as 17,000 euro (Belvoir Hunt, Rutland).
Much of this additional income is hard to trace as most are cash-in-hand. It is questionable if this additional income is even declared to the In-land revenue.
Covid Small Business Scheme
Councils administrate Covid payments (average £10,000 per hunt) to hunts through the Governments Small Business Scheme if they feel the hunt is eligible and qualifies for the money under the schemes guidelines.
Under government rules, any business that occupies a property and receives small business rate relief or rural rate relief is eligible for a small business grant for Covid-19.
Councils in England and Wales have handed hunts more than £160,000 of taxpayers’ money in grants intended to help businesses during the pandemic.
♦ Shropshire has given out £50,000 distributed between five different hunts in the area – the highest total donated by the seven local authorities that have paid out.
♦ Devon and Somerset Staghounds received a £10,000 grant and a £50,000 bounce back loan from taxpayer-backed coronavirus business schemes given out by Somerset West and Taunton District Council Link .
This hunt already had £40,000 in its bank account.
♦ Powys County Council provided a hunt with £30,000 via the small business grants fund.
Aled Davies (Conservative) Powys county council’s deputy leader, said businesses were entitled to the grant when the criteria was met
♦ Rutland Council awarded the Cottesmore Hunt a retail, hospitality and leisure grant of £25,000 – the maximum available – and a business rates discount of £6,716.30.
♦ Babergh District Council in Suffolk granted £20,000 (£10,000 each to two hunts) under the small business grant scheme.
♦ The Isle of Wight council gave £10,000 to a hunt.
♦ South Northamptonshire council gave £10,000 to a hunt.
* Note : (This maybe just a coincidence, but most of these councils seem to be tory controlled).
This has caused much outrage as some council’s are funding hunts who engage in an activity which is against the law (Hunting Wildlife).
Link : Webinars (Hunts admitting they lie and create smokescreens to fool the public, police and courts)
Families across the country are suffering incredible hardship and having to make tough sacrifices due to Covid-19. British tax payers money is being used to fund illegal hunting when people are dying, losing jobs and homes. Living costs & council tax is going through the roof and putting people into poverty and all the government and council have thought about is making it easy for hunts to finagle access to payments and grants enabling hunts to continue with their “fun” of barbaric and illegal hunting. Absolutely disgraceful.
Total Income Amounts
When you add up all the income that hunts get, it’s a shocking amount.
Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and leaked minutes may only reveal what income they have decided to declare and not what’s hidden in non declared reserve accounts and cash-in-hand income.
Other related links
Link : Hunts registering as a company
Link : Hunting on council owned land
Link : Myths and Truths
Link : Video exposes hunters lies
Link : The truth series about hunts
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