East of England charities could face �2million licensing bill to play music at fundraising events

EAST of England charities could be forced to pay �2million more in licensing fees if they want to play music at fundraising discos and tea dances. The Government has decided charities will no longer be exempt from paying one of two licensing bodies if the

EAST of England charities could be forced to pay �2million more in licensing fees if they want to play music at fundraising discos and tea dances.

The Government has decided charities will no longer be exempt from paying one of two licensing bodies if they play recorded music in their own premises.

This means that up to �2million that would normally be spent on communities services across the region could instead be spent on royalty payments.

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) is leading a campaign against the rule change.


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Liz Atkins, NCVO head of public policy, said: "Many charities in the East of England run on shoestring budgets of less than �10,000 a year and rely on these small fundraising events to help them survive.

"This is a shameful way to treat voluntary organisations that help some of the most disadvantaged people in our society."

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Charities have always had to pay for a licence from PRS for Music to play recorded items, but from April 2010 they will also have to pay PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd).

The rule change will affect people in a wide range of organisations, including for example, volunteers sorting clothes in the back of charity shops while listening to music.

NCVO and the Association of Charity Shops are urging people to write to their local MP to ask them to support the campaign. So far 80 MPs have signed an Early Day Motion in Parliament calling on the Government to maintain the existing arrangements.

David Moir, head of policy and public affairs at the Association of Charity Shops, said: "This proposal is outrageous. It will damage charity shops and their fundraising ability.

"This is crazy at a time when charities need as many funds as possible.

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