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Thursday, 30 October 2014

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Bingo scoops big Budget win

Punters hope they will win big thanks to a tax cut for bingo clubs.

Chancellor George Osborne revealed that the amount of duty bingo halls have to pay will be halved from 20 per cent to 10 per cent.

His budget announcement comes after the number of bingo halls across the country has fallen by three-quarters over the past three decades.

The Bingo Association says the previous 20 per cent tax rate had led to nearly 2,000 jobs being lost over the last three years.

Graves (Cumberland) Limited, which runs Opera Bingo on Ladies Walk in Workington, welcomed the Government’s decision.

Earlier this year its customers and staff signed a petition to lobby the Government to cut the VAT.

Charlotte Kennedy, marketing manager of Graves, said: “This is fantastic news – we’re delighted.

“Hundreds of our customers signed the petition and I'm sure they’ll be as happy as we are that the Chancellor listened to them, and gave our bingo clubs, and the many others around the country, the boost they need.

“Bingo is a social activity that’s at the heart of hundreds of communities across Britain. For most customers, coming to Opera Bingo is about meeting friends and socialising, as well as playing the game. This is great news for them, because it means their club has a more stable future.”

Sir Tony Cunningham, Workington MP, backed the petition.

He said: “This is great news and I’m glad the Government has listened to the petition. Bingo halls are a great place for the community to get together. My mum Bessie has been a regular player for 30 years.”

James Lowes, 82, of Cockermouth, goes to bingo in Workington four times a week.

He said: “It is the best thing that could have happened. I’ve been coming here for 15 years and I was surprised Mr Osborne did something good for a change. Bingo halls are a social lifeline for us.”

Margaret and George Williams, of Corporation Road, Workington, added: “The reduced duty will help a lot of bingo halls stay open, it’s such a shame so many have had to close. We weren’t very impressed with the rest of the Budget, though.”

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