New charities on lower incomes may no longer have to pay water and sewerage charges, according to a proposal by the Scottish Government.

A consultation has been launched on whether the scheme should cover charities and voluntary organisations with a turnover of less than £75,000 a year.

It would alter the present scheme, which applies to organisations that qualified in 1999 but does not include newly-formed charities.

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The change would raise the threshold and remove the exemption from organisations which now have a higher turnover averaged over the past three years.

Extending the scheme would mean up to 5000 third-sector organisations would be exempt from the charges, the Government said. There are about 5800 members of the exemption scheme.