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September 2008

More Questions and Answers

Those of you who have already bought my "Club Law & Management" book will know that Questions and Answers previously published in the Magazine form a large part of it. This month I have again used what has become a popular format to bring various matters to the attention of club committees some of which will no doubt be found familiar.


One club has recently been approached by a company which is offering an alternative to Sky TV. We have been approached in the past by bogus operators but ultimately have rejected them all due to the risk of fines and advice which we have previously read in the Conservative Clubs Magazine.

This latest company appears to be very professional and my committee have asked me to check whether your previous advice still applies.

The question you have raised is not uncommon. My advice is simple, please do not touch this company with a barge pole. The same advice applies to any other company offering a similar service.

They are all, frankly, as bad as each other. No doubt you have already been advised that everything they do is legal but that you can join their legal protection scheme (why would you need to if it is legal?) and that there are ongoing legal cases.

You will probably also be asked to enter into a leasing arrangement for the projector and screen. If you work out the sums involved you may be surprised at how many thousands of pounds you will pay for this simple equipment and still be in a position of not owning it.

May I refer you to the July edition of the Magazine and in particular the first question in the Club Law & Management section from which you will see that the County Conservative Club in Cardiff cancelled Sky and was offered a much more attractive deal. Please note that any reduction is unlikely to be offered unless a club’s existing contract is cancelled. Sky are now arguing that the County Conservative Club was offered a reduced rate by mistake and that this offer has now been withdrawn. We shall update readers on this matter with details of any developments.


Having read the July edition of the Conservative Clubs Magazine, under the heading of Honoraria, it states that such payment is subject to Income Tax and National Insurance. I have always been of the understanding that whilst Honoraria are subject to Income Tax, they are not subject to National Insurance. Would you be kind enough to clarify this, as in the past I have spoken to HMRC, and they also confirmed this, albeit that was some time ago. Has there been a policy change?

I confirm that honoraria are subject to Income Tax and National Insurance under PAYE rules. The advice which you previously received was incorrect. This may have been due to a guidance booklet produced by HMRC prior to April 2003 containing incorrect information concerning this matter. Please see below:-

"Prior to April 2003 guidance contained in booklet CWG2 Employer’s Further Guide to PAYE and NICs indicated that no NICs liability would arise on payments of honoraria. This was incorrect. The guidance was changed with effect from April 2003 to correctly reflect that honoraria are liable for the payment of both tax and NICs.

"In view of the incorrect guidance prior to April 2003 you should not seek to collect NICs on payments of honoraria made prior to that date even though a liability will exist."


I am the Secretary of a club and was recently approached by a member of a neighbouring ACC Club. This member had been told by their club to buy an IA Ticket from our Club since their Club did not have any. Is it possible for me to sell an IA Ticket to a non-member?

Thank you for raising this matter with me. A Club is not permitted to sell IA Tickets to anyone other than members of their own Club. Each member club of the ACC is a separate, autonomous organisation. By reference to Rule l of the Rules and regulations governing the issue of IA Tickets it clearly states that they are not transferable from club to club and can only be used by members of the Club from which the IA Tickets are issued.

There is no reason why your neighbouring Club should have directed this member to you. IA Tickets may be purchased by Clubs in any number, even one, at any time of the year.


I have heard an item on the radio today regarding bank notes. It was said that Scottish bank notes could not be refused. Our Club already has a published policy of not accepting any £50 or Scottish bank notes. In preparation for the usual barrage of opinion expected from barrack room lawyers, what is your advice?

There are now many retailers who will not accept £50 notes and I am advised they are perfectly entitled to do so. The question of Scottish bank notes is rather different since some denominations are lower than £50. However, I am advised that again a retailer is entitled to refuse any form of payment which is not acceptable to that particular retailer.

You are aware that many shops no longer accept cheques and some establishments add charges in the event of certain credit cards being used. The Club has a published policy and I can find no reason why this should be changed.


I am told that it is illegal for the Club to advertise the hire of the Club’s Hall for private functions to non-members, by way of a poster on the window facing out on to the road, is this true?

In my opinion it would be perfectly in order for the Club to advertise the fact that a Hall is available for private hire. l base this view on the fact that it would be perfectly in order for the Club to apply for up to twelve Temporary Event Notices (TENS) each year and whilst such notices are in place the Hall could be hired out to a member of the public or organisation with no link of membership to the club.
May I refer you to the November 2007 edition of the Magazine in which an article addressing the subject of Club advertising was published.


I would like to ask why I am unable to join my local Conservative Club. I have been informed that women are not eligible to join the Club but have been given no explanation other than my sex prevents me from becoming a member. I am a supporter and member of the Conservative Party and my friends and I would like to use the Club to meet and discuss local issues. Please would you kindly explain why this archaic practice exists?

Thank you for your email concerning your local Conservative Club. l confirm this Club operates a policy of men only membership and has done so since the formation of the Club in the early 1900s.

Registered Private Members’ Clubs are legally entitled to operate membership qualifications on the grounds of gender. This entitlement will continue following the Government’s proposed Discrimination Act which is proposed to be introduced next year. Clubs and Associations which are established and operate single sex membership will be able to legally continue. I do however, note the point which you have made which is that Conservative Club should not operate such a policy.
From my own person point of view, I would like see all Conservative Clubs operating a policy of equality of membership, and I have spent many years encouraging clubs adopt this position. I am please to say, that the number of clubs which operate a men only policy is a fraction of our overall membership. We will continue encourage clubs to review the membership policies setting out the many benefits which can be gained and I am confident that in time this historic inheritance will cease.