Oxfam condemns Haiti single tax claims

A leading charity today described reports that VAT waived from the Haiti earthquake charity single was to be clawed back by the Treasury as "extremely disappointing".

Stars including Cheryl Cole and Robbie Williams sang on February's hit record, which was given the special tax treatment by Gordon Brown to help boost sales.



But the Independent newspaper reported that the Treasury was to claw back the lost revenue from the Department for International Development (DfID).



Max Lawson, Oxfam head of development finance, said: "It will be extremely disappointing if Malawi or Mozambique end up paying for the public's generosity by picking up Haiti's VAT bill."



But Downing Street released a statement which read: "The story is wrong. No money raised for Haiti will be deducted from other development projects or the DfID budget."



Number 10 said DfID would be reimbursing the initial cost of the VAT for the single, but had an agreement with the Treasury that "they will provide additional end-of-year financing to cover that cost".



"There will therefore be no impact at all on other areas of DfID's work or budget."



The single, a cover of REM song Everybody Hurts, sold more than 600,000 copies.



Proceeds were split between the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) and The Sun newspaper's Helping Haiti campaign.



The Independent quoted a DfID official as saying "it was a bloody cheek" for the Treasury to deduct the waived VAT from its £6 billion budget.



Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman Edward Davey told the paper: "This sleight of hand is a step too far. People who bought this CD in good faith will be disgusted to find out what the Prime Minister presented as an act of generosity was little more than the daylight robbery of funds intended to help some of the poorest people in the world.



"Gordon Brown must come clean on what aid programmes have suffered in order to fund this hollow gesture."



More than 200,000 people were killed when impoverished Caribbean republic Haiti was hit by a magnitude 7.0 quake in January.



Pop and TV mogul mogul Simon Cowell masterminded the charity single effort, which was publicly backed by Mr Brown.



This week countries and international organisations pledged more than £6.5 billion to rebuild Haiti.



It also emerged that former Doctor Who actor David Tennant was approached to play International Development Secretary Douglas Alexander in a theatrical dramatisation of the aftermath of the Haiti quake.



But Mr Tennant was unavailable for the role at a London theatre, the Times newspaper reported.



Nobody from DfID was available for comment.







Andrew Mitchell MP, shadow international development secretary, said: "This sleight of hand trick is sadly another example of Gordon Brown's willingness to deliberately mislead the public in order to get a good headline.

"It is all the more regrettable because the matter at hand is so serious, and the British public have been so generous.



"He should have simply been straight with people from the outset, rather than giving the impression that this was about additional money for humanitarian relief."





An Oxfam spokesman later said the charity was pleased Downing Street had pledged not to take the money from DfID's aid budget.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
love + sex
Arts and Entertainment
Victoria Wood, Kayvan Novak, Alexa Chung, Chris Moyles
tvReview: No soggy bottoms, but plenty of other baking disasters on The Great Comic Relief Bake Off
Sport
Ashley Young celebrates the winner for Manchester United against Newcastle
footballNewcastle 0 Man United 1: Last minute strike seals precious victory
Life and Style
Tikka Masala has been overtaken by Jalfrezi as the nation's most popular curry
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Seth Rogan is one of America’s most famous pot smokers
filmAmy Pascal resigned after her personal emails were leaked following a cyber-attack sparked by the actor's film The Interview
News
Benjamin Netanyahu and his cartoon bomb – the Israeli PM shows his ‘evidence’
people
Arts and Entertainment
80s trailblazer: comedian Tracey Ullman
tv
News
i100
Life and Style
A statue of the Flemish geographer Gerard Kremer, Geradus Mercator (1512 - 1594) which was unveiled at the Geographical Congree at Anvers. He was the first person to use the word atlas to describe a book of maps.
techThe 16th century cartographer created the atlas
Arts and Entertainment
Stephen Tompkinson is back as DCI Banks
tvReview: Episode one of the new series played it safe, but at least this drama has a winning formula
News
i100
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: UI / UX Designer

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This firm are focussed on assis...

Recruitment Genius: General Processor

£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...

Recruitment Genius: Outbound Sales Executive - B2B

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable
Living with Alzheimer's: What is it really like to be diagnosed with early-onset dementia?

What is it like to live with Alzheimer's?

Depicting early-onset Alzheimer's, the film 'Still Alice' had a profound effect on Joy Watson, who lives with the illness. She tells Kate Hilpern how she's coped with the diagnosis
The Internet of Things: Meet the British salesman who gave real-world items a virtual life

Setting in motion the Internet of Things

British salesman Kevin Ashton gave real-world items a virtual life
Election 2015: Latest polling reveals Tories and Labour on course to win the same number of seats - with the SNP holding the balance of power

Election 2015: A dead heat between Mr Bean and Dick Dastardly!

Lord Ashcroft reveals latest polling – and which character voters associate with each leader
Audiences queue up for 'true stories told live' as cult competition The Moth goes global

Cult competition The Moth goes global

The non-profit 'slam storytelling' competition was founded in 1997 by the novelist George Dawes Green and has seen Malcolm Gladwell, Salman Rushdie and Molly Ringwald all take their turn at the mic
Pakistani women come out fighting: A hard-hitting play focuses on female Muslim boxers

Pakistani women come out fighting

Hard-hitting new play 'No Guts, No Heart, No Glory' focuses on female Muslim boxers
Leonora Carrington transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star

Surreal deal: Leonora Carrington

The artist transcended her stolid background to become an avant garde star
LGBT History Month: Pupils discuss topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage

Education: LGBT History Month

Pupils have been discussing topics from Sappho to same-sex marriage
11 best gel eyeliners

Go bold this season: 11 best gel eyeliners

Use an ink pot eyeliner to go bold on the eyes with this season's feline flicked winged liner
Cricket World Cup 2015: Tournament runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

Cricket World Cup runs riot to make the event more hit than miss...

The tournament has reached its halfway mark and scores of 300 and amazing catches abound. One thing never changes, though – everyone loves beating England
Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Heptathlete ready to jump at first major title

Katarina Johnson-Thompson: Ready to jump at first major title

After her 2014 was ruined by injury, 21-year-old Briton is leading pentathlete going into this week’s European Indoors. Now she intends to turn form into gold
Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot