Friday, 15 November 2013

Hyndburn and Haslingden sports clubs under threat from proposed Government changes. Where is the Big Society?

I have been campaigning against subtle changes proposed by the Government to tax rules on Community Amateur Sports Clubs scheme (CASC) which I know will affect at least two cricket clubs in the constituency, Haslingden and Baxenden Cricket Clubs and probably many more of the larger sports clubs.

I have written to the minister - see below for my letter and his response (read more link).

The Government are intending to place restrictions on the amount of income clubs can raise from social activities. Clubs rely on a range of social and non-sporting income from various sources for the sole purpose of keeping that club open and accessible to the community. (I was at Baxenden Cricket Club a week last Friday which had allowed the club to be used for a school fund raiser myself). The income clubs make from its own social activities help maintain the upkeep of the facilities and ensure in working class areas like this, membership fee's are kept at an affordable rate and that resources are available for to support juniors and young people.

The CASC scheme has been a great success and statistics from the ECB show that registered clubs have 32% more participating adult members.

I have long stood up for community clubs and have previously campaigned to extend rate relief in Hyndburn on working men's clubs from 50% to 80% because of their contribution to the community and we simply cannot afford to lose them.

David Cameron championed the Big Society and yet his actions are totally contrary to his warm words. If he believes the contribution of Haslingden and Baxenden Cricket Clubs is a vital part of society and community life he should back them, not undermine them.