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Bingo hall gambling tax rates to remain

26/2/2009
The government has decided to not cut the rates of VAT for bingo halls despite opposition that the tax is unfair and has been forcing clubs to close taking away thousands of jobs.

The woman who made the decision, Exchequer Secretary Angela Eagle said that reducing the tax would not be an “appropriate solution”.

Liberal Democrat MP John Hemming first demanded the VAT to be cut claimed that it is unfair for other forms of gambling to pay 15% while bingo halls must pay 32%. However Eagle dismissed this saying that the actual figure bingo halls were playing was more like 25%.

She also said that other forms of gambling also pay other forms of tax bringing their total amount of tax up to an average level for all forms of gambling. However Mr. Hemming retaliated by saying that ministers had a prejustice against bingo and it’s predominantly working class customers. He also claimed that scrapping the tax would not be too costly for the government at only around £10m which is a small price to pay as already 100 clubs have closed in the last year which has lead to a minimum of 3,500 job losses.

However Eagle also said, “Our assessment remains that tax is not at the root of the industry’s problems and nor do we believe that alteration of the tax regime would be an appropriate solution to them.”

A government official said, “While the Treasury recognized the bingo industry’s claims it is politically impossible to cut taxes on gambling at a time of huge economic difficulty”.

Danielle Almond
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