Coalition wins an event fee reprieve

Francois Le Goff

The Government has backed down on plans to introduce a £5,000 licence fee for charity events after a coalition led by the National Trust said the move would affect their income severely.

The plans were put out to consultation in December as part of the reform of the Licensing Act and included a national fee to cover the maintenance and health and safety costs of gatherings of up to 10,000 people.

But the National Trust argued it would be hit by the new price structure because a significant part of its charitable income comes from the 20 concerts and country fairs it runs each year. In response, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport reduced fees to £1,000.

The Royal Horticultural Society escaped the tax after Licensing Minister Richard Caborn said last month that flower shows would be exempt from it.

But it is still unclear whether other shows such as The Prince's Trust's Party in the Park, which has been subsidised by local authorities, will have to pay the fee.

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