Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Plaid Cymru join Welsh bingo protestors at Westminster

Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams MP and Plaid’s Westminster candidate in Llanelli Dr Myfanwy Davies, today joined forces with bingo players from Llanelli to campaign against unfair taxation on bingo.

The group from Llanelli lead by Nigel Griffiths traveled 330 miles to fight for their bingo club’s future by protesting in Dean’s Yard opposite the Houses of Parliament.

Protestors wore Alistair Darling masks, carried several placards, some even circled the square aboard the ‘Bingo bus’, and even joined in a game of Bingo on the green to champion the cause.

Plaid Cymru’s Hywel Williams has previously warned that the decision to increase in the rate of duty from 15% to 22% could signal a decline for Bingo clubs.

A Plaid-backed SNP motion to reverse the decision was recently defeated by Labour MPs. Other forms of gambling such as casino or online poker remain taxed at 15%.

Plaid’s Hywel Williams MP said:

“The Government's treatment of the bingo sector is incredibly unfair. In the Budget, the Government announced that it had removed the VAT on participation fees for Bingo players, but at the same time has increased the rate of bingo duty from 22%. This makes no sense in practise.

“Tax fairness is essential during the recession and this taxation on licensed bingo halls is dangerous as it targets the heart of our communities, and in particular older women and those from lower income households. Bingo halls provide a safe and friendly environment for the whole community to meet and socialise.

“The protestors have championed this cause fantastically today. I hope that the Government will now see for itself that bingo clubs and their constituents are suffering under this burdensome tax.”

Dr Myfanwy Davies added:

“Bingo has been part of life in Llanelli for as long as I can remember and the last thing we need in the town centre is for the club in Market Street to have to close.

“This is a completely unfair and ridiculous tax on people’s enjoyment. Bingo is already taxed once and there is no justification for treating bingo differently from online poker or any other form of gambling.

“We’ve come today to show those MPs that voted for the tax hike will see that they cannot ignore the voice of their constituents.”

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