Crowded House's charity single for refugees, Help Is Coming, to have VAT waived
Published 11/09/2015 | 00:09
All VAT will be waived on Crowded House's charity single to raise money to help Syrian refugees.
Profits from the track - a re-release with Save The Children called Help Is Coming - will be donated to the charity to help bolster its vital work in Syria and Europe where the refugees are fleeing to escape the conflict.
Chancellor George Osborne said the move, which was also made for the Band Aid Ebola single, 2011's Military Wives Choir single, and the 2010 Haiti earthquake appeal single, will ensure that "as much money as possible goes towards helping these children".
The Government will also make a donation to the charity, equivalent to the VAT payable on the sales of the single.
The money will help to provide much-needed shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene in Syria and neighbouring countries, such as Lebanon and Iraq.
A newly-released short film in aid of Save The Children fronted by Sherlock star Benedict Cumberbatch is among the public acts of support aimed at tackling the refugee crisis.
The film ties in with the release of a limited edition 7" and download of Crowded House's song by the same name.
Cumberbatch ends his short introduction to the film saying: "As people watching this tragedy unfold from the safety of our homes, with our safe children, we want to say that we see you, we hear you and help is coming."
The project has been spearheaded by writer Caitlin Moran and broadcaster Pete Paphides, who were both "saddened and angered last week by the images of three-year-old Syrian refugee Aylan Kurdi and his brother Galip".
International Development Secretary Justine Greening praised the "British public's generosity" adding: "Every sale of Help is Coming, with the VAT covered by UK aid, reaffirms this nation's commitment to alleviating appalling suffering and bringing security, safety and peace of mind to those fleeing conflict and persecution."
Mr Osborne also pointed out that Britain has pledged to spend £1 billion so far to support those fleeing the terror of president Bashar Assad and the Islamic State group and to take in 20,000 refugees.
Cumberbatch is among more than 100 celebrities and cultural figures, including Sir Michael Caine, Jamie Oliver, Keira Knightley and Jude Law, who have signed a letter published in the Guardian.
The letter said the Government's plan to resettle 20,000 refugees over five years was "too little over too long" and urged David Cameron to "wake up to the urgency of the current crisis" and offer more help.
Moran said: "Whilst committees convene and resolutions are published and squabbles break out between this government and that, normal people just become very practical: they roll up their sleeves and say, 'Right, if I'd just fled my country with my family, what would I need?'
"Shelter, food, and clothing, maybe some books for the kids. Let's get started now.
"So, Pete and I were just doing what everyone else was doing, really. He'd found the perfect song - Help Is Coming, about refugees on their way to Ellis Island, with 'Empires crumbling' behind them, and I just went on Facebook and told everyone what we were doing. And everyone was desperate to help, everyone felt the same way."
Within a few hours they had people offering help and support for the project.
The 7" single comes with an exclusive and previously unreleased B-side, Anthem. It also features new artwork by Crowded House's bass player Nick Seymour.
Apple, which will make the download available, will donate all proceeds to Save The Children.
Crowded House's Neil Finn and Capitol Records will also donate all of their royalties and proceeds from the track to Save The Children.
Finn said: "First recorded in 1995, quietly released in 1999, Help Is Coming has had a long journey to find a good home.
"It was always a song about refugees, even if at the time I was thinking about the immigrants setting off on ships from Europe to America, looking for a better life for their families in America."
He added: "There is such a huge scale and urgency to the current refugee crises that barely a day goes by without some crushing image or news account to confront us. We can't be silent any more."