A petition is being circulated by a York man, to cut VAT on fuel used by air ambulances.
Ken Sharpe has called the tax a disgrace; he decided to start the campaign after collecting money at a bikers rally for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance, whilst he was talking to another fundraiser Ken found out that a cut of what they raised would go back to the government in VAT payment, he couldn’t believe it. It costs the Yorkshire Air Ambulance a VAT bill of £6,000 on fuel a year that is the equivalent of a full days running costs, or equal to three life saving missions every year.
VAT on fuel costs is affecting many air ambulance crews and it is putting them under huge pressure. They are forced to pay tens of thousands of pounds to the government every year. The work the Air Ambulances do saves the government over £46 million a year so it is no surprise crews are angry. MPs from all parties have also got behind the campaign to force chancellor George Osborne to give the services a well deserved VAT break.
The e-petition has exceeded 100,000 signatures, which means it can now be debated in parliament, the petition has the backing of 37 MPs including York MP Hugh Bayley.
Yorkshire air ambulance relies on individuals and organisations to help save lives around the Yorkshire area. The charity only receives help through secondment of paramedics from the NHS. To keep the two air ambulances in Yorkshire going it costs 2.65 million a year.
The charity serves a population of 5 million people across 4 million acres so as you can imagine that’s a lot of fuel needed to keep these vital helicopters going.
The charity has been going since 2000 and a second helicopter was added in October 2007. Yorkshire Air ambulance has developed into an amazing emergency service providing top quality medical care throughout Yorkshire. The county has many remote, rural and densely populated areas as well as road networks including the M6, M1 A1 and M1, the air ambulance plays a vital role in attending to patents with head and spinal injuries as well as a patient who has received major trauma.
Other charities such as The Royal National Lifeboat Institution do not pay VAT on their fuel; The Treasury said that the air ambulance benefited from other VAT exemptions such as on equipment.
The YAA featured on the BBC’s Countryfile on Sunday, filming in Keighley in West Yorkshire. It featured its crew and a patient whose life was saved by the air ambulance. You can catch the episode on BBC Iplayer.
To get behind the campaign click here.