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Calls for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance to get a tax rebate

Air Ambulance

11:40am 17th February 2012

Hugh Bayley, has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons that calls on the Government to refund to Air Ambulances all the VAT which they pay on the fuel they use. His Early Day Motion has received all party support.
Special provision is made in the EU VAT Directive for the zero-rating of fuel for use by the Lifeboat Service, which provides an essential rescue service often in extremely difficult conditions;  but no provision is made for the Air Ambulance Service's, 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.  Hugh Bayley is therefore calling on the government to return in the form of grants to Air Ambulance Services providers all the VAT which the Treasury collects from them. 
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 in North Yorkshire 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 be an enormous help to them if the government were to return to them the amount of VAT which is collected.
Hugh Bayley MP says:
"The Yorkshire Air Ambulance relies on donations to keep its two helicopters in the air and saving lives. 

"Their paramedics have clinical and healthcare skills, but also have to navigate to incidents and 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 Services are as vital as the Lifeboat Service and would get an enormous benefit by having the VAT they pay for fuel repaid to them."
Paul Gowland of the Yorkshire Air Ambulance added:
"We are constantly striving to raise the vital finds required to keep the Yorkshire Air Ambulances in the air and operational, therefore any reimbursements or donations would be very greatly received by the Charity."
The text of Hugh Bayley's Early Day Motion is as follows:
That this House notes that, whilst the Lifeboat Service has been exempt from VAT on fuel costs since 1977, a similar privilege has not been afforded to the Air Ambulance Service;  further notes that the Air Ambulance Service is forced to meet rising fuel prices year on year; recognises that voluntary fundraising and charitable donations from the British public to sustain the Air Ambulance Service have saved successive governments millions of pounds in expenditure;  calls on the government to review this matter in recognition of the valuable service the Air Ambulance Service provides;  and calls on the government to return in the form of grants to Air Ambulance Service providers all the VAT which the Treasury collects from them so that the Air Ambulance Service is in practice exempt from paying VAT in the same way as the Lifeboat Service.  
It was tabled with cross-party support from MPs including:  John Healey (Labour), Kevin Barron (Labour), George Mudie (Labour), Andrew Percy (Conservative), Julian Sturdy (Conservative) and Greg Mulholland (Liberal Democrat).

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