The British government will make the surprising step of refunding the VAT paid on the new Band Aid 20 charity single and the newly released Live Aid DVD meaning an approximate £8 million extra will go to the charity.
The surprise announcement was made by Sir Bob Geldof yesterday (November 7) at the official launch of the official DVD of the Live Aid concert that took place at the Odeon Kensigton, West London. A statement from Geldof reads:
“In a remarkable gesture and one that is wholly in the spirit of Band Aid, Gordon Brown has announced that The Government through The Treasury have refused to take a single penny from sales of the Band Aid 20 record and the Live Aid DVD."
Those of us old enough to remember the original song, twenty years ago, will have noted the contrast between the government’s response then and no. It is further proof that the Band Aid 20 record has already become the starting pistol for the vital political year of 2005.
Speaking to Xfm at the DVD launch Geldof explained how things have changed since the original single in 1984 and how the deal came about.
“It's great news, and it indicates the difference of twenty years. I used to have these huge fights with Madame X – Margaret Thatcher - twenty years ago, but now the government understands that it just isn’t worth it to go up against this, as it has a sort of unique significance.
“I was in the Congo – as you do – as the phone rings and it's Gordon Brown. So I say ‘Hello Gordon,’ and he goes [adopts gruff Scottish accent] ‘Grrrrr, hello Bob. What about the VAT on the record?’ I said ‘Well, I haven’t thought about that’ as I hadn’t. I’d forgotten about all that stuff. But they hadn’t cos they’re the same generation, the Live Aid generation. Blair and Brown, they’re the same age as me.
“It’ll mean about £8 million, that’s serious wedge. It also demonstrates the change in political climate, and we’ll carry that forward into 2005."
The Live Aid DVD is released today (November 8) and the Band Aid 20 single will be recorded at Air Studios in North London on Sunday November 14 and hit shops on Monday November 29 on Mercury Records and The Band Aid Trust.
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