Posted by: secretperson | September 28, 2008

Lifeboats – Volunteer Emergency Services to be Taxed

The regulator Ofcom wants lifeboat organisations to pay for using radio frequencies used in emergency rescue situations. The Royal National Lifeboat Institution, as well as smaller independent operators, could have charges introduced for shore-based radio’s introduced from next year.

The RNLI and others are entirely dependent on donations from the public or council grants, as well as volunteer crews. They provide in effect an emergency service, completely free of government funding, and are the only organisation to organise sea rescues. Last year, the RNLI lifeboats saved 8,000 people and their beach lifeguards helped 10,000. But this new charge, in effect a tax, will see hundreds of thousands of pounds of donated money heading to government coffers, and threaten the ability of lifeboats to provide this vital service.

Surely the government must step in to prevent this. This would be a tiny amount of money to the government compared to the billions it provides for the emergency services it runs, but is a huge amount to volunteer, charity based organisations, who provide a vital service.

I know the idea of people voluntarily doing good things may be hard to grasp for a nanny state, only the government can do right, Labour party. But to allow this sends out a terrible message to thousands of people everywhere who may be thinking of giving up their time, and in this case risking their lives, to do something for the good of others.

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