Stop taxman making £3m from our First World War fundraising campaign

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I am a veteran of Afghanistan, and also the Director of a small charity called Remembered. We are running a campaign called 'There But Not There' to raise funds to support veterans suffering from the mental and physical wounds of Service. We’re a small team and work hard to make sure every penny we make goes to the people we want to help.

That’s why it’s particularly upsetting that the Government is making so much money from one of our campaigns. We recently started selling ‘There But Not There’ figurines of Tommies (British soldiers) that people could buy to commemorate a relative or loved one. All the proceeds of which, we had hoped, would help our armed forces veteran community.

But because our Tommies are technically classed as “merchandise”, a large portion of money raised has had to be paid in tax to HM Revenue & Customs, making it the single largest beneficiary of our campaign. It means that of the £15 million that we aim to raise, each charity will receive £2m each and the Government a whopping £3 million.

This cannot be right.

Four years ago the then Chancellor, George Osborne, refunded the VAT that had been charged on the sale of ceramic poppies from the Tower of London art installation. Surely Chancellor Philip Hammond should do the same in this case?

This year marks the centenary of the end of WWI. The Chancellor could go a long way to defuse the anger felt by many military charities, if he returned the VAT raised on the sale of ‘There But Not There’ Tommies.

So help us Philip Hammond, so we can in turn help our six benefiting charities continue the vitally important work they do, supporting our brave armed forces community.