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George Osborne examines plan to cut tax on bingo

  • Chancellor urged to cut bingo duty from 20% to 15% in line with betting 
  • Tories argue it would boost jobs, bingo halls and jobs in poorest areas
  • Osborne burnishes populist credentials pulling pints in Whitehall pub
  • Tory chairman Grants Shapps declares: ‘We are the Workers’ Party’

By
Matt Chorley, Mailonline Political Editor

05:15 EST, 26 February 2014


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06:55 EST, 26 February 2014

Taxes on bingo would be slashed under plans being considered by George Osborne to bolster the Tories’ image among working class voters.

The Chancellor is examining plans to cut to 20 per cent duty on earnings from bingo to 15 per cent, in line with online gambling and betting on horse races.

It is claimed the move would lead to bigger bingo prizes, investment in tired bingo halls and more jobs in some of the country’s poorest areas.

Pulling power: Chancellor George Osborne is considering cutting the tax on bingo halls to bolster support among working class voters

Pulling power: Chancellor George Osborne is considering cutting the tax on bingo halls to bolster support among working class voters

The Chancellor tried his hand at pulling a pint at the Red Lion pub in Whitehall which has reopened after a refurbishment

The Chancellor tried his hand at pulling a pint at the Red Lion pub in Whitehall which has reopened after a refurbishment

The Chancellor tried his hand at pulling a pint at the Red Lion pub in Whitehall which has reopened after a refurbishment

The idea of a tax cut for bingo could become a totemic issue for the Conservatives at a time when the party is desperate to shed its image as being dominated by ‘out of touch’ southerners.

The plan has been discussed by Treasury ministers and could be announced by Mr Osborne as part of next month’s Budget aimed at wooing working families.

To burnish his man of the people credentials, the Chancellor was last night seen pulling pints in the Red Lion pub near Downing Street.

Tory party chairman Grant Shapps yesterday claimed his was the Workers’ Party. In a speech he said: ‘We are the party on the side of the whole nation. We are the party on the side of working people.

ECONOMY BOOSTED BY STRONG GROWTH IN BUSINESS INVESTMENT

The economic recovery has been boosted by new figures showing Britain has become less reliant on consumer spending.

New data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) reveals that business investment rose by 2.4 per cent quarter on quarter in the final three months of 2013.

It came as the ONS confirmed that the economy grew by 0.7 per cent in the last three months of 2013.

However the pace of growth overall last year was nudged down to 1.8 per cent from the previous estimate of 1.9 per cent.

Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the figures, saying in a message on Twitter that they provided ‘more encouraging news our long-term economic plan is working’.

The figures from the ONS showed that, while business investment picked up sharply from growth of 2 per cent in the third quarter, household spending rose by a more muted 0.4 per cent between October and December, down from 0.9 per cent growth in the previous three months.

Compared with a year earlier, business investment was 8.5 per cent higher.

‘Our politics isn’t about a list of statistics and numbers. There is a moral purpose to it, a mission.’

Bingo clubs are closing at a rate of one a month, according to the Bingo Association. More than 1,000 jobs have been lost since 2012.

The industry has promised to invest an extra £30milliuon in new clubs, better community facilities and more jobs if the duty is reduced to 15 per cent.

The issue is being championed by Tory MP Robert Halfon, who has previously successfully lobbied ministers  on fuel duty and energy companies.

A petition signed by 300,000 people backing the Boost Bingo campaign is being presented to Number 11 Downing Street today.

Mr
Halfon told MailOnline: ‘What we need is a level playing field for
bingo so we boost bingo clubs, boost investment, boost jobs and boost
bingo prizes.

‘It will put
millions back into the game. Bingo is not gambling. It is a social club
and a community activity for working men and women, of all ages.

‘It is very much about supporting working people and supporting our communities.’

There are 54,000 members of
bingo hall in Mr Halfon’s Harlow constituency alone. He said that if Mr
Osborne announces the tax cut in next month’s Budget, it has to be part
of a wider message to voters that the Tories are on their side.

‘It
is not just a tax cut. We have got huge bingo clubs, many are closing
because they cannot afford to ru because of this tax. It means
regeneration and jobs in some of our poorest communities.’

The Treasury has refused to be drawn on the plans for bingo tax ahead of the Budget on March 19.

Exchequer Secretary David Gauke said: ‘The Government keeps all taxes, including bingo duty, under review.’

Cutting the tax on bingo would increase prizes and lead to investment in bingo halls, campaigners claim

Cutting the tax on bingo would increase prizes and lead to investment in bingo halls, campaigners claim

The call for the Tories to do more to appeal to working class areas comes after criticism that David Cameron’s inner-circle is still too elitist.

An IpsosMori poll in September found 70 per cent of voters thought Mr Cameron was ‘out of touch’, a figure never reached by any Tory leader in the past 35 years.

The Wythenshawe and Sale East by-election this month saw the Tories come third behind Ukip, leading Nigel Farage to claim his party is now the opposition to Labour in the north.

Pauline Latham, the MP for Mid-Derbyshire, complained that Mr Cameron tends to surround himself with ‘people who are like him’.

‘I am sure he listens to Samantha Cameron a lot but he is never going to listen to me. Everything is looked at through the prism of London, by people from London. We should have regional input’.


Comments (244)

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indianaP wnz,

merseyside, United Kingdom,

2 hours ago

Lol the idiot, us working class rarely “Bingo” these days.

JF,

Birmingham, United Kingdom,

4 hours ago

the last thing that’s needed is to encourage more people to gamble. Too many families are struggling due to having a gambling addict in the house. lotto, scratch cards etc is too addictive.

Cromwell,

London, United Kingdom,

5 hours ago

Is this some kind of joke? Osborne has a pint of beer to try and ingraciate himself to the working classes hahahahahahah ohhhhhh HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAhahahahahahahahah oh ahaqhahahahaha
(keep going laughing for 5 days) The bloke is seriously making a fool of himself. Does he really expect people to believe he is down there with all the workers hahahha is this part of the tory party plan that is being looked at to change the name of the party? Read the UKIP website. they have a story about how the coservative party is considering changing its name to “The Workers Party” hahahaha bingo and beer hahahaha yeah maybe in the 1960’s

Tony,

Brecon, United Kingdom,

6 hours ago

The only (and last person) I knew who went to Bingo was my Nan. As these premises appear to be open during the day (I only see the adverts for one particular name brand) I can only assume these people don’t work and go during the day. Another insult to British people and another nail in the coffin of the government.

anthony1900,

manchester,

7 hours ago

It makes you sick to think that the chancellor thinks it s more important to cut tax on playing bingo than making energy companies etc cut their profit margins so we can keep warm in winter just shows who dosent have to worry about their heating bills with their BIG pay rise.

Mike H,

Nordwesten, United Kingdom,

8 hours ago

Bread and circuses!

AGPCUK,

Bournemouth, United Kingdom,

8 hours ago

Sooner YOU increase the Lousy LOTTO winnings. what say you folks?

AGPCUK,

Bournemouth, United Kingdom,

8 hours ago

Sooner YOU increase the Lousy LOTTO winnings. what say you folks?

ANTEK,

Nowy Sancz,

8 hours ago

What is bingo ? Is it like banga banga

Spiney,

Manchester,

9 hours ago

And what about a subsidy fer t’pigeon fanciers and t’whippet racing? Workin man’s up t’north has got nowt left to spend after 6 days in t’mill.
I think we’d rather you got the likes of Amazon Google etc to chip in some tax George, than stupid meddling around the edges

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