Thursday, January 07, 2010

Strictly No Dancing – Lord Mandelson hits churches and other religious buildings with a £20 million music tax

It is Cromwellian cunning; the politics of the Puritan; the scheme of the Scrooge.

Churches, charities, scout huts, village halls and sports clubs face new £20 million levy on music thanks to Lord Mandelson, who also happens to be a Church Commissioner.

Christmas discos and dances in community buildings across the country face this puritanical tax as it has been revealed in the small print of obscure new regulations which abolish charities’ and voluntary groups’ exemption from music licensing rules – hitting them with a multi-million pound bill for holding events with recorded music.

Charities and non-for-profit groups have had a long-standing exemption from paying for a so-called 'PPL' performance rights licence for playing recorded music on their premises. This exemption reflects the public benefit that such voluntary organisations provide to their communities. This PPL exemption is being abolished by Labour.

This will affect charity discos, tea dances, youth clubs, salsa dancing groups, sports clubs, coffee mornings and even charity shops (which have a radio in their staff room). The changes are being imposed by the ‘Intellectual Property Office’ which is part of Lord Mandelson’s Department of Business, Innovation and Skills empire. The new levy will come into effect in April 2010 subject to the new regulations being ratified by Parliament.

The Government’s own impact assessment admits that it will cost voluntary groups £20 million a year. Some organisations will ‘cease playing music’ because they cannot afford a licence, and it will hit a quarter of a million organisations - 140,000 charities, 6,750 charity shops, 66,440 sports clubs, 4,000 community buildings, 5,000 rural halls and 45,000 religious buildings.

The Government’s own response to the consultation has also admitted:

The performance of religious music at religious gatherings would be affected adversely’ (p5).

Respondents from religious organisations believed that removal of the exemption would result in a relatively negligible increase in royalties for collecting societies. They anticipated that many such organisations would decide that the expense and paperwork involved in applying for a licence could not be justified, despite music being an intrinsic part of their culture and heritage. Currently PRS has a voluntary exemption for divine worship and civil wedding/partnership ceremonies. Under Option 1 all religious organisations would be required to obtain a licence from PPL’ (p9).

Charities are being asked to meet more and more of society’s needs with less money. One large charity claimed that licence fees could rise to 10 times the current cost if PPL licences are required. They suggested that (based on the impact assessment) the benefit to PPL members is half (or less) of the additional cost placed on charitable organisations. The level of increased costs would require serious consideration as to whether music can continue to be used. It was felt that PPL was unlikely to introduce preferential rates for charities. Some felt that Option 1 would lead to a fall in fundraising and a clear reduction in public benefits from charities’ work’ (p8).

The additional costs of licensing might threaten charity shops’ existence as it would not be seen as a good use of charitable funds to pay for music but removal of music would impact on numbers of volunteers and customers’ (p8).

Most clubs indicated that they would remove the provision for music and television if Option 1 were implemented, as the cost would be disproportionate to usage levels and might endanger the viability of the club. Some suggested that many clubs would continue playing music out of ignorance or defiance or may resort to playing music that is out of copyright’(p8).

Nick Hurd MP, Shadow Minister for Charities, said: “This is another Labour assault on the fabric of British community life. Having shut down post offices and local pubs, Labour’s Whitehall bureaucrats now have village halls, scout huts and churches in their sights. This is a heartless tax on Christmas discos and tea dances in community buildings across the country. Peter Mandelson’s Christmas message is strictly no dancing to struggling charities this winter.”

The National Council for Voluntary Organisations are running a 'Don't Stop the Music' campaign to highlight the effect of this £20 million levy on the voluntary and community sector.

If readers and communicants wish to preserve the ubiquitous free festive Cliff songs at Christmas (which will be of particular concern to Iain Dale), Cranmer exhorts you to support the ‘Don’t Stop the Music’ campaign.

And His Grace will look into initiating a ‘Remove Lord Mandelson as a Church Commissioner’ campaign because he is becoming more than a little irritating.

44 Comments:

Blogger Gnostic said...

Well it looks like all the sucking up the luvvies do to NuLab has finally paid off...

7 January 2010 at 17:43  
Blogger Obnoxio The Clown said...

I think Your Grace should know that this came about after one of Lord Mandelson's "agreeable yacht visits" with music mogul, David Geffen.

It is hard to escape the conclusion that the current assault by Lord Mandelson on any loopholes on music royalties for "hard-working yacht owners" is a thank-you to Mr Geffen for his hospitality.

7 January 2010 at 18:05  
Blogger Preacher said...

Typical of this grey drab Nulab
administration, compared to them
Scrooge looks like the life & soul
of the party. But then they've always had the smell of death on them, Ask not for whom the bell tolls Nulab, it tolls for Thee.
Me? I will not be silenced by a group of killjoy tightwads whose time is running out. They have been weighed in the balance & haven't even registered.

7 January 2010 at 18:06  
Blogger Cyberdoyle said...

Remind me. Who voted for mandy to have this power over the people of the UK?

7 January 2010 at 18:09  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

The government is desperate to raise revenue by any means possible. In an ineluctable operation of the natural law, as taxes have risen, so revenue has fallen, partly as a result of the recession. What's worse, the government needs even more money to try to pay for its deficit, in turn making the deficit worse. The irony would be delicious if it were not our pockets, pension funds and bank accounts the government is plundering.

So any scheme to part us from our money is grist to the Treasury's mill.

A friend who is having extensive building work done tells me that his builders are working in the snow for reduced pay so their business does not go under. At the same time, the car park at his local branch of Tesco's was too full yesterday for him to get into it. Full, no doubt, he reasonably speculates, because of the number of public employees 'unable to get into work because of the snow' (think teachers, etc.). These creatures take their paid days off at the expense of the increasingly squeezed private sector which generates the decreasing quantity of wealth needed to support the bloated salaries and pensions of the public sector.

This is the monster that has been fed by Brown's profligacy and his gargantuan expansion of the client state (1 million additional public employees since 1997). Not only does this economically illiterate Marxist fail to see the damage he has done, but continues to fantasise that he will increase public spending (i.e. pay yet more for public servants).

If Cameron showed the slightest inclination to graps the enormity of this problem, there might be hope, but he seems determined to match Brown in his commitment to spending astronomical sums maintaining the world's third-largest employer (the NHS), and shows no serious intention of having the political honesty to formulate policies that will tackle this problem -- a problem which is steadily ruining the country.

And so we now have this latest mean-spirited attempt to pick the pockets of charities, communities and churches in a desperate attempt to scrape together a few more pennies to cover his shame and incompetence.

As ever, it will not work. All that will happen is that the events from which the tax is targeted will no longer take place.

It is unlikely that any revenue generated will even cover the costs of running Mandelson's‘Intellectual Property Office’.

We seem to be trapped, without any democratic recourse, in this descending spiral.

7 January 2010 at 18:11  
Anonymous nemo_sum said...

He will look after himself first, his rich friends second, his catamites third and the country somewhere in the lower regions, where he belongs.

7 January 2010 at 18:16  
Blogger Anabaptist said...

It's not all bad news today, though: Jonathan Woss has just announced his departure from the BBC. This must surely lead to a cut in the licence fee, as the BBC's costs will more or less halve.

7 January 2010 at 18:19  
Blogger Man in a Shed said...

So that'll be the school disco finished then.

7 January 2010 at 18:20  
Anonymous len said...

This mean spirited tax seems to sum up this mean spirited government.
Is there no level this government will not stoop to?

7 January 2010 at 18:24  
Anonymous Stephen Gash said...

This is only for England. Just as the fee for a street entertainer's pitch and pub entertainment fees only apply in England.

Of course the taxes generated in England guarantee a Barnet pay-off to Scotland and Wales.

7 January 2010 at 18:33  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

Well, the way to deal with it is for every single church group, community group, scout group and whatever to refuse to comply. Bad laws seem to be the forte of this government - non-compliance should be ours.

7 January 2010 at 18:39  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mrs Proudie of Barchester,

One can hardly expect the churches to comply with that. They must render unto Cliff that which belongs to Cliff.

7 January 2010 at 18:43  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Irritatingly, that would have made a better headline for this post. But it is too late now.

7 January 2010 at 18:44  
Blogger DDIM 'n HOFFI said...

Remind me why I am to believe that Dave will turn all of this around, I keep forgetting. Oh, wait a minute, of course, you are taking the Tory 5th amendment in order to avoid telling too many lies.

7 January 2010 at 19:08  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mr DDim 'n HOFFI,

Your question is becoming tedious, so His Grace will address it.

David Cameron may or may not 'turn all of this around', and if he does attempt to it may be a turning on a par with that of the Titanic. In a democracy it is incumbent upon Christians to vote for the lesser evil. And the lesser evil is still evil. But it is lesser. There will be no New Jerusalem: there will be no perfection or the attainment of utopia. But Conservatism, even the Cameronian genre, is a world away from the oppression of Socialism. And so His Grace longs for the day that Mr Cameron enters No10.

7 January 2010 at 19:16  
Blogger Dave said...

It'll only affect Christian based organisations. Islam is anti-art as far as I can see. You don't here too many Islamic chart toppers these days.
If this goes ahead I suppose we won't hear any chart toppers at all.

Trust Labour to bring everything down to the same drag grey low level.

They really are adopting a scorched earth policy aren't they?

7 January 2010 at 20:06  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And so His Grace longs for the day that Mr Cameron enters No10.

So do I.

For no other reason then to answer some still remaining questions.

Like for example.

Is there any remaining hope for this country, or ultimately any other nation state?

Has God completely forsaken us all, however much we may deserve such a fate?

My guess is a resounding NO on both counts, but it would greatly help if we all knew where we now stand.

I will give Cameron no more then 2-3 months to start to prove his worth. I do believe we all owe Cameron at least 90 days or so, before we should all refuse to play the establishments little divide and rule game any more.

Socialism is devout evil in action. Which has been visited on common humanity as an insult to god and his children.

We should all know by now,BUT DON'T, that corporatism and communism are inventions of The Great Zionist Conspiracy, headed up by the Jesuit Orders. Quite how all powerful these subversive and all conquering powers are, we are soon to find out.

7 January 2010 at 20:08  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As we currently have a system that enables charities to claim around 30% from the government from any moneys collected for charities. How could such a scam raise any further finance for the government. It surly can not.

What it can do is go some way to help finance further government employment. The government is basically creating a way of circulating money that can not create wealth, simply for the sake of doing so.

Therefore this scam is very much what the last 13 years has all been about. Which is a further destruction of useful free market type capitalism, which helps to create an increase in the standard and quality of ordinary peoples lives. IMO for the sole Common Purpose of creating an ever more authoritarian corporatist, fascist type socialist, post-democratic nightmare.

7 January 2010 at 20:30  
Anonymous Screaming Lord Fondlebum said...

The best things in life were free
But now you pay to hear your R&B
Now gimme money (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want), oh-yeh,
That's what I want.

Free music give you a thrill
But it don't pay no guvment bills
Now gimme money (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want), oh-yeh,
That's what I want.

Money won't solve everything it's true
What I don't waste I can lose
Now gimme money (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want)
That's what I want (that's what I want), oh yeh,
That's what I want.

7 January 2010 at 20:41  
Blogger DDIM 'n HOFFI said...

It is very tedious business Your Grace. All we need to do now is convince Mr Nelson. Not that I am even remotely convinced myself. What Mandelrot has done to charities is a big but temporary inconvenience, unless of course it falls into the pit of old Jerusalem with everything else under the category of 'fix later'.

I am looking forward to joining in the torment of the lesser evil when it manifests.

7 January 2010 at 21:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your Grace

A quick search of the interweb reveals this:

http://www.ppluk.com/en/News--Events/Latest-News/PPL-and-PRS-for-Music-announce-joint-licensing-scheme/

"Following a consultation, the Government has announced that the licensing rules surrounding not-for-profit organisations will change.

"This sector comprises, amongst others, government buildings, charities, community halls, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. These changes will bring licensing in this sector in line with the rest of Europe and will take effect on 1st April 2010."

So there you have it: "... in line with the rest of Europe ...". A quick dusting of the hands and get on with the next EU harmonisation project. No place for British laws for British people, oh no.

Appropriately it takes effect on 1 April.

DP

7 January 2010 at 22:39  
Blogger DP111 said...

Since the ratification of the Lisbon treaty, more or less every legislation comes from the EU, or has been snactioned by the EU. I dont see how legislation of this sort could be legal without it coming from the EU.

7 January 2010 at 23:09  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Labour just make you sick in everything they do.

7 January 2010 at 23:13  
Blogger DDIM 'n HOFFI said...

So if this has come from the EU then even Cast Iron Dave wont be able to fix it later either. It gets more tedious by the hour Your Grace.

7 January 2010 at 23:17  
Blogger Bill Sticker said...

Your Grace,

‘Remove Lord Mandelson as a Church Commissioner’? Perhaps this statement could be made a little more succinct.

How about simply 'Remove Mandelson'?

7 January 2010 at 23:54  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The right to tax is the right to know about an organisation, to monitor it etc. - so this is government and private business accessing organisations and an indirect of freedom of assocation. Also, it is an attack on privacy - which songs etc are sung.
What a shame that a Jewish person who knows the terrible things done by the nazis should not have noticed (if he has not) and should approve of such methods.
What happens if poor charities or churches have to pay a fee and then don't have money to feed the poor.
I hope that his and similar schemes will stop and that people will wisen up.

8 January 2010 at 00:34  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

** corrected sorry **
The right to tax is the right to know about an organisation, to monitor it etc. - so this is government and private business accessing organisations and an indirect attack on freedom of assocation. Also, it is an attack on privacy - potentially which songs etc are sung. It is more government getting into more areas of people's and organisations lives in more ways - creating more red-tape, normalisaing more encroachments by government business and other organisations including charities into the lives and properties of indiviuals, charities, organisations and businesses. of course if you have to pay and don't pay cash they also get access to financial details, also addresses and names - so any dirty deeds are easier. It increases the risk unnecessarily of idtheft and shenaigans by all the real pre-criminals.
What a shame that a Jewish person who knows the terrible things done by the nazis should not have noticed (if he has not) and should approve of such methods. This comment also applies to any who have suffered - minorities, those who have indiviually suffered - the lesson learn from abuse of power is do not abuse power yourself or enable or collaborate with those who do or appear to be trying to. God help us all.
What happens if poor charities or churches have to pay a fee and then don't have money to feed the poor? This will also obviously discourage budding music talent - not good for society or the national GDP in the long-run. Also it puts a pressure on charities and churches. Shame on the government. Who is pressuring them to do this and why?
I hope that this and similar schemes will stop and that people will wisen up.

8 January 2010 at 00:41  
Anonymous not a machine said...

I thought the "rain tax" was bad enough but now we have christian listening tax !!

When will these fools just sod off back to a country that runs a marxist eutopia , ohh there isnt one well i am surprised , the way this lot keep talking you would think the whole world is one !!

Church commisioner he isnt even a parsihoner ?? says it all about how much he knows .

8 January 2010 at 01:28  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cast out the Red Tories,

Enter Blue Labour,

Ah, true wisdom.

8 January 2010 at 05:13  
Blogger Alan Douglas said...

Most of the cremations I have witnessed include playing of some recorded music.

Will this also be barred (or taxed, the same thing) ?

Alan Douglas

8 January 2010 at 06:00  
Blogger Chaconia said...

Now we'll all have to dance to Bach, Beethoven and Mozart ... this may well be a blessing in disguise.

8 January 2010 at 09:02  
Anonymous The Vicar's Wife said...

Churches already pay a licence for music to CCLI (www.ccli.co.uk). How is this different to what Mandelson is proposing?

8 January 2010 at 10:04  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anabaptist's assertion at comment 2 is correct. This is part of a wider scheme to raise revenue from any and all possible sources.

Along with requiring defendants to pay their own legal costs (even if found not guilty), fines for incorrectly sorting rubbish etc. this is a method of raising revenue outside of parliamentary scrutiny. As someone above mentioned, this is a European Law and thus, will be implemented regardless.

The parallels to Charles I's reign are striking. He ruled without Parliament for 10 years but as a result, was unable to levy a "Subsidy" (ratable land taxation). In order to keep the government functioning, archaic laws were revived, fines became commonplace and laws that were meant for one purpose (say the Ship Money, intended for levy on coastal counties during war, extended to all counties during peace), purveyance, wardship and forest fines.

Unfortunately, as a result of the collapsing taxation revenues and ballooning spending, these sorts of licensing, fining and extra Parliamentary methods of raising revenue will likely become more common.

8 January 2010 at 10:14  
Blogger Archbishop Cranmer said...

Mrs Vicar's Wife,

CCLI was established to provide a copyright solution for churches wanting to reproduce the words of hymns and worship songs for their times of worship. If you wished to pipe Cliff into your Christmas service or old people's tea party, there was no charge.

Lord Mandelson's proposal will now mean that churches will have to pay extra for the use of all recorded music, unless that music is out of copyright.

8 January 2010 at 10:20  
Blogger JPT said...

This must be shouted from the rooftops - or is there a tax on rooftop shouting as well?

8 January 2010 at 10:36  
Anonymous The Vicar's Wife said...

Your Grace, from the CCLI website it looks to me that only services are excluded ('divine worship') and that you do need to be licenced for old people's teaparties. See this page http://www.ccli.co.uk/licences/churches_playing-music.cfm

The organisations highlighted by the NCVO don't include churches.

8 January 2010 at 14:46  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It all started here
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5h4PFBuzvw&feature=related

8 January 2010 at 14:48  
Blogger P@ said...

But this isn't a tax... if it were, at least it might do some social good. No, this is a demand to pay money from charitable organisations into the pockets of the wealthy. No great surprise from NuLab who are, essentially, just old fashioned Tories.

8 January 2010 at 14:49  
Anonymous Stephen Gash said...

Chimps will be exempt

http://uk.video.yahoo.com/watch/3375897

8 January 2010 at 15:41  
Anonymous John Malcolmson said...

Doesn't anyone twig what's going on here?

The middle classes are being told off for drinking a couple of glasses of wine in the evening. Recently a study was published which strongly suggested that eating reconstituted meat products (many of which are pork-based) can consign you to a premature grave.

Now the transmission of music in public places is effectively being banned by making it prohibitively expensive to reproduce.

So the no-noes are ALCOHOL - PORK -MUSIC. Who do you think will be pleased?

8 January 2010 at 20:47  
Blogger Terry Hamblin said...

I can't remember our ever using recorded music in our church services. Congregational singing accompanied by an organ is quite enough. Is there to be a tax on live music played on guitars and drums too? One would wish it so.

8 January 2010 at 20:47  
Anonymous stedmancinques said...

I take it the Adhan is out of copyright.

8 January 2010 at 22:32  
Blogger Cyberdoyle said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_P4lJD_OPI is an open letter to the Dark Lord Mandy. Worth a watch!
chris
ps its by Dan Bull. very funny.

9 January 2010 at 08:38  
Blogger Theresa said...

Your Grace,

I am rather puzzled by this article. For as long as I can remember, churches have been required to pay both for a photocopying licence and a performance licence. I know, because I filled in the forms every year for our parish. In addition to that, music played at weddings that is also being recorded by video is subject to licence. Video producers are not supposed to record the service unless they have a licence to do so. It generally falls to the organist to police this and some take a stricter attitude than others, but this to me is nothing new. As for charity shops and stuff, that sounds a bit harsh esp when it's just a radio, but paying for performance in the church is the norm and has been for a long time.

18 January 2010 at 01:52  

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