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South Wales Variety Branch Annual General Meeting

4 April 2012

The Annual General Meeting of the South Wales Variety Branch took place on Tuesday 3rd April 2012 at the Tyn Y Twr Public House, Baglan, Port Talbot. 


Unfortunately Malcolm Sinclair, our President and Guest Speaker,  was unable to be at the meeting due to extended  TV work commitment on the day. However it was good to have Chris Ryde our Area National Organiser to be with us to add to the branch special date.  The meeting was very well attended and Chris Ryde was able to give information that was valuable to our branch. One item amongst many that he eloquently raised was the slightly different way that our branch and other variety branches nationally would be financed.  The Council with input from the Hon. Treasurer had agreed that 25p per member registered with the South Wales Variety Branch would be made available for branch funds.  In our case that is £94 to be used for Education, Training or other agreed criteria. It was seen as a good incentive to attract more members and the money could be used to kickstart some interesting events. Shelli Dawn our Branch Secretary said she had some ideas but would welcome other suggestions on uses for the funding. The £94 is an annual amount that will be lost if not used in the 12 months period.This is a separate fund from our own branch monies which we have accrued that is looked after by our able Branch Treasurer Cei Phillips  and derived from Showtime Events, Raffles etc. 


A campaign is to be mounted shortly by Equity for more work for members in areas where productions for TV, Theatre and Films are actually made. The regions mostly involved with problems are Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. For instance we now have major production activity in Wales and much of the casting etc involves London or outside of Wales.  To redress this there should be a " Live in Wales  -  Work in Wales" or "Produce in Wales - Use  Talent of Wales"  - type of campaign so that the creative talent in Wales is effectively used and recognised. More of this with promotional literature will soon be available.


The Licencing of Entertainment for venues has led to a reduction of live entertainment because the criteria for a permit started at a low level of 50 persons. Equity has been active in  getting Parliament to increase the numbers to 100 persons but in their wisdom the Ministers at Westminster upped the level to 200 persons.

A welcome surprise and this is going forward for Royal Assent shortly. It should lead to an increase in work for members.


Shelli Dawn thanked Chris Ryde for attending the AGM at such short notice. She also thanked him for his valued support over many years. This was endorsed by everyone at the meeting. He will be a hard act to follow.


A late discussion on the tax insurance proposal currently being examined by Equity was raised. Goldini gave an indepth analysis of the problem and the need for members to consider getting insured. It is basically an insurance for costs incurred if  HMRC decides to investigate your business etc. for possible tax avoidance.

Whether you have an accountant or not it would cost you an enormous amount of time, money and  sleepless nights. The cost to get insurance yourself seems to be between £80 and £130 mostly around £100 but Equity Insurance could currently be set at £59 annually on top of your subscription. You will hear more about this probably in the next Equity Journal .  A few at the meeting said they were really interested and would like to arrange the cover. Members also registered interest at previous branch meetings.  Equity will if there are sufficient takers put up £10,000 to get the ball rolling with our insurers and get the £59 payments to offset the upfront payment. It needs just around 180 members to make this viable. This insurance is not only for the self employed and of course is a legitimate expenditure against your income from entertainment. HMRC is Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs the former Inland Revenue.


The AGM ended and members enjoyed Welsh Cakes, tea, coffee and good gossip. 


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