Sharma delivers local music tax petition to parliament
31st March 2010
Alok Sharma, the Conservative Parliamentary Candidate for Reading West, met in Parliament with Jeremy Hunt MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, to present the local petition signed by around 900 Reading people calling on the Government to stop their proposed Music Tax on charity and voluntary groups.
The Government is abolishing charities’ and voluntary groups’ long-standing exemption from music licensing rules – hitting them with unexpected new bills just for holding events with recorded music or for playing a radio.
To date, voluntary groups have not had to pay for a so-called “PPL” performance rights licence in order to play recorded music. This exemption reflects the public benefit that such organisations provide, but this is now being abolished by the Government. This will affect church worship, charity discos, tea dances, youth clubs, dancing groups, sports clubs and even charity shops which have a radio in their staff room.
The new levy will come into effect in April 2010 once the new regulations are ratified by Parliament. Conservatives are opposing these changes and standing up for local voluntary groups. The Government admits that the new levies will cost voluntary groups £20 million a year.
Alok said: “I am absolutely delighted that Jeremy was able to receive the petition and has agreed to ensure that it is delivered to the heart of Gordon Brown's Government at 10 Downing Street. The Government must reverse the proposals for this heartless stealth tax on charity and voluntary groups which could financially cripple the local groups and organisations that play such an important role in our local communities.”
Jeremy Hunt MP added: “I was very pleased to receive this petition from Alok on behalf of the 900 local Reading residents who signed it. It is obvious that this misguided tax is going to really hurt charities and Conservatives have opposed vigorously the Government’s plan to introduce this tax.”
Tilehurst resident Molly Denton, who runs the popular and successful local voluntary group The Denton Dancing and Social Club (www.dentondancing.co.uk/), has written to both Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson to express her concerns about this proposed tax.
Molly, who was the main organiser of the local music petition with Alok Sharma, said: “900 local people signed this petition in a matter of days which reflects the huge concern that charity and voluntary groups in Reading have about this planned tax. I really hope the Government will rethink this irresponsible tax that will do great harm, costing voluntary groups £20 million a year. The Government just has to reverse its proposals, we can't go on like this.”