The credit crunch and the economic turmoil are leaving Gordon Brown’s Labour Government short of funds. Tax and spend Brown introduced dozens of new taxes while he was Chancellor and his government now reportedly has the RNLI in his sights.
Under plans to make them pay for using life-saving radio airwaves lifeboat supporters may have to raise another £260,000 a year. Ofcom says fees are essential to ensure effective use of the commercially valuable airwaves and pointed out that other users of the airwaves, from television broadcasters to taxis, paid to use parts of the spectrum but the maritime and aeronautical sectors did not, so it was planned to bring
them into line with the rest, under Administered Incentive Pricing (AIP).
In recognition that lifeboats are in a different position to commercial users the government may allow a 50 per cent discount on the fee which would reduce the impact to only an extra £130,000 a year. However, that's still a lot of money when you
think in terms of lifeboat days and collecting tins for pound coins. The RNLI provides a search and rescue service, at no cost to the government, but the government now want to charge the RNLI for the pleasure of doing it. Charities could end up having to raise millions of pounds to hand to the government, and it is obscene that organisations such as the RNLI should have to pay for safety radio channels.