A few years back we reported on a Government proposal to levy a tax on voluntary groups for playing music at their social events. A stealth tax of this type is, of course, far from unique, as those who pay the scandalous BBC licence will know.

It has long been accepted that voluntary groups are generally beneficial to community cohesion and, as a result, voluntary groups have not had to pay for a performance rights licence to play recorded music. However, we have a government that seems determined to destroy the cultural and social cohesion of this country and, as a consequence, has now decided that churches, village halls, charity shops and sports clubs must pay a licence fee to hold events which include the playing of recorded music, or even for playing a radio! At £81 a year per licence it is far from cheap!

Now, according to media reports, the Government intends abolishing the exemption, which will mean more money for their coffers at the expense of local voluntary and charity groups.

We understand that the new tax will come into effect in April of this year, once the regulations have been approved by Parliament. Typically, the Government is passing the “culpability buck”, claiming that their new rules are required to comply with a European directive on copyright.

One critic of the stealth tax is reported as saying:

“The Government needs more revenue, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of what is at the heart of our very way of life. We need village halls, Scout huts, charity shops and churches and we need them to play a strong role in our local communities. I would urge the Government to think again and to stop this heartless tax.”

Indeed, we would go further and suggest that before MPs rubber-stamp the taxing of the invaluable work undertaken by a myriad of voluntary and charity groups that they drastically reduce their taxpayer funded salaries and pension benefits and cut their claiming of expenses and allowances to the bone instead? Such a move, admittedly about as likely as finding a glacier in the Sahara, would be universally applauded by the taxpaying public.

It is estimated that some 140,000 charities, over 6,000 charity shops, 60,000 sports clubs, 4,000 community buildings, 5,000 rural halls and 45,000 religious buildings will be affected, totalling a staggering quarter of a million organisations.

In response a campaign has now been set up by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, called Don’t Stop the Music, to highlight the effect the tax will have on the voluntary and community sector.

A concerned spokesperson for one voluntary organisation commented:

“When you have a group run by volunteers there’s only so much they will do. Charities are scared to death about what this means.”

From the economic perspective you would imagine that, at this difficult time, a responsible government would be drastically cutting its’ spending and lowering taxation in a bid to both encourage private enterprise and to stimulate the economy, not implementing new stealth taxes! Yet all this irresponsible government appears interested in is taxing us to death at the behest of its masters in Brussels and to the detriment of our communities!

To misquote Benjamin Franklin:

“Nothing can be said to be more certain except death, taxes and the insatiable desire of the Westminster EU-collaborator regime to undermine the cultural fabric of our country by every means and at every opportunity.”