Tim Farron MP, President of the Liberal Democrats, is leading the fight to scrap VAT paid by air ambulances. He wants the service put on the same footing as the RNLI and mountain rescue teams.
Tim is MP for Westmoreland and Lonsdale in the North West. Their air ambulance service currently pays about £24,000 per year in VAT - enough for an extra 10 missions.
As Tim told the local newspaper, it is quite right that the RNLI and mountain rescue services are exempt from VAT, but it is time that air ambulance services were given the same dispensation. The excuse from the government - that EU law doesn't allow such a change - was the same as was trotted out by the last government over VAT for mountain rescue teams. That was proved to be false and mountain and cliff rescue teams are now VAT free. RNLI has been VAT exempt since 1977.
The Cornwall Air Ambulance - the first in the country - would obviously benefit hugely from such a change. Good luck to Tim and his campaign.