http://blogs.chesterchronicle.co.uk/and-finally/

And Finally... Bingo lovers knit voodoo dolls in tax protest

By James Shepherd on Jul 9, 09 12:30 PM in News

ANGRY bingo tax protestors are aiming to put a hex on Chancellor Alastair Darling.

The ladies, members of Mecca Bingo, Brookdale Place, have made voodoo dolls in protest against the Government's decision to raise tax on their favourite game.

The levy on bingo has increased from 15% to 22%, which the outraged gamers claim could be enough to force bingo halls to close down.

Bingo fan Gemma Moran, 35, who was one of many who knitted a voodoo doll bearing a picture of the chancellor's head, said: "Alistair Darling is stabbing in the back the very people who helped to put him and the Labour party in power. Now we want him to know how it feels.

"If he doesn't keep bingo tax at 15% then we're worried that clubs like ours could close.

"We come to bingo because we can meet our friends and have fun in a safe environment. If our club closed where else is there for us to go?"

Since 2006, about 90 bingo halls have closed in Britain and last week's rise in tax, which was greeted by a huge demonstration outside Parliament in London, is viewed by those working in the profession as another threat to the industry.

Chester Mecca Bingo manager Naomi Glass said: "What the government has done is decide to tax the bingo industry more than any of our rivals. We will be more out of pocket and it's jobs on the line at the end of the day.

"We run a profitable club for the local community but other clubs may struggle to stay open."

A 500-name petition has been sent to Chester MP Christine Russell in protest against the rise in tax.

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