York Central MP Hugh Bayley’s postponed backbench debate on the Air Ambulance Services will take place today (Wednesday 11th July) any time from 2.30 p.m. onwards.
It's calling on the Government to refund to Air Ambulance all the VAT which they pay on the fuel they use.
The motion has all party support and is co-sponsored by the Conservative MP for Hexham, Guy Opperman.
Mr. Bayley was first approached about this issue by his constituent, Ken Sharpe, who drew attention to the fact that special provision is made in the EU VAT Directive for the zero-rating of fuel for use by the Royal National Lifeboat Institution, which provides an essential rescue service often in extremely difficult conditions, but no provision is made for the Air Ambulance Service, which provides life-saving rapid response emergency service to millions of people every year. EU legislation does not allow individual countries like the UK to unilaterally extend zero rates of VAT to other charities or rescue services. Ken started an online e petition which calls on the Government to refund to Air Ambulance Services all the VAT which they pay on the fuel they use. The petition now has 150,000 signatures. Hugh Bayley tabled an Early Day Motion supporting Ken’s call.
The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is one of 20 Air Ambulance Service independent charities in the UK providing a service to 5 million people across Yorkshire. They operate two helicopters in the region, one based at Bagby Airport in Thirsk and the other at Leeds Bradford International Airport, which enables them to cover a vast area that includes major cities and motorways, as well as rural and isolated locations. Their work includes attending road traffic collisions, hospital transfers and other medical emergencies where a road ambulance would have difficulty attending quickly enough. To keep providing this life saving service the charity needs to raise £7,200 per day to keep both of Yorkshire’s Air Ambulances maintained and in the air. Last year the Yorkshire Air Ambulance purchased around 170,000 litres of fuel and incurred £5,799.06 in VAT costs. It would help them, and all other Air Ambulance Services, if the Government agreed to return to them the amount of VAT which is collected.
Hugh Bayley MP says:
“The Yorkshire Air Ambulance is entirely reliant on donations from the public to keep its two helicopters in the air and saving lives. Their paramedics have clinical and healthcare skills, but also have to have navigational skills to get to incidents quickly and to ensure the safety for the aircrew as well as their patients. They provide a valuable service for people in our region and have saved many lives. The Air Ambulance Service is as vital as the Lifeboat Service and would get an enormous benefit by having the VAT they pay for fuel repaid to them. We are not talking about an enormous amount of money here. It would cost the Government around £150,000 a year in total to refund VAT payments to our twenty Air Ambulance Services.”