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Government u-turn hailed as a victory for village halls in Lichfield and Burntwood

A Home Office ruling on licensing fees is being hailed as a victory for the area’s village halls.

Committees had feared that Government proposals to set fees locally would lead to an increase in charges.

However, the decision has now been reversed with tariffs to continue to be set nationally.

The Community Council of Staffordshire – which is part of the ACRE (Action with Communities in Rural England) Network – says the decision is a victory for village halls and community buildings. The charity, part of the ,

ACRE Village Halls Manager Deborah Clarke said: “Licensing fees have been set centrally since the Licensing Act 2003 came into force. Village halls were rightly concerned by recent Home Office proposals to allow local councils to set the charges instead.

“They told us it would force them to put up the cost of hiring the halls, making it more expensive for the clubs, associations and communities who use them.

“We shared the letters and emails we received from village halls with the Home Office and are pleased we have been able to help these small charitable organisations by giving them a voice.”

The decision has been welcomed by those who want to see village halls remain at the centre of local communities.

The Community Council of Staffordshire’s village hall adviser, Cathy Russell, said: “Village halls are at the heart of community life and are often the only place in the village for people to meet.

“Some halls are struggling to keep going and increased costs would only add to their difficulties. We’re very pleased that the Home Office has listened to the views of committee members and taken them on board.”

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