Angela Smith, Minister for the Third Sector, has urged voluntary organisations to write to music licensing bodies to ask them to minimise the impact of plans to charge charities for playing music in shops.
The exemption of charities from paying fees to Phonographic Performance Limited, which represents music producers and performers, will be abolished from April next year, the Government announced last month. MPs have said the move could cost the sector an estimated £20m a year.
Speaking in a parliamentary debate yesterday, Smith said charities should write to PPL and the Performing Right Society over the issue while plans to implement a new charging structure are still being drawn up.
Smith said the PPL and PRS were working together on a plan to minimise the impact on the sector. "We are one of the last countries in Europe to lose the exemption, but we must work together to ensure we do what we can to minimise any impact," she said.
Francis Maude, the shadow minister for the Cabinet Office, said the removal of the exemption had been "railroaded" through by business secretary Lord Mandelson and would cost the sector at least £20m a year.