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Cup of tea? That'll cost you...

July 12, 2006 10:15 AM

In a move which may have important repercussions for larger LGBT community organisations, Lib Dem MP John Hemming is calling for the DWP to allow volunteers to be given lunch by the organisations that they are working for.

"I have been contacted by Age Concern," he said, "because they are shocked that their volunteers are no longer allowed to claim for lunch expenses. I have asked a written question of the Department of Work and Pensions calling for this to be reinstated. As far as the tax man is concerned you don't have to pay tax on lunch. However, if you have a cup of tea from Age Concern they will deduct if from your benefits."

"This is bureaucracy gone mad. The fact is that getting lunch whilst you are out of the house is much harder than when you are at home. The money in benefits does not cover these incidental expenses. Minor changes to benefits rules that won't benefit the DWP will considerably undermine voluntary organisations."

DELGA Chair Kelvin Meyrick commented, "volunteers are the life blood of so many LGBT organisations. Giving your volunteers a cuppa while they are helping to deliver a vital community service should be recognised as politeness - not a matter for the government to get involved in!"