UK Government Minister Provides Reassurances on Air Ambulance Fuel VAT
On the 11th June 2013 Lord Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Department for Health, while giving a speech to a reception held by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Air Ambulances (APPGAA), made reassurances,that the thousands of pounds wasted through the application of VAT on aviation fuel was being taken seriously and a potential solution was being considered.
Earl Howe, commented: “As you may be aware, Monitor recently undertook a Fair Playing Field Review to look at the varying treatment of different providers of services within the NHS. One of the recommendations of this review was that the Government should consider extending VAT rebates to services provided to the NHS by the charitable sector. We have agreed that this is an important issue and we will, over the next few months, be looking in detail at whether this might be a feasible option going forward. This recommendation is not solely about air ambulances, but they are the sort of charities that will be considered in this review work, so watch this space.”
The comments were welcomed by Guy Opperman MP for Hexham and Chair of the APPGAA: “Following the public’s clear statement in 2012 with an online petition which reached over 150,000 signatures, I and a number of MP’s led a debate in the House of Commons in July 2012. We have then continued pressing the Treasury to review the situation. I welcome the Ministers Statement and look forward to hearing how the rebate system will work.
Earl Howe also in his speech praised the air ambulance charities who raised in 2010-2011 FY £76.6M through public donations, acknowledging that “every penny raised was a penny saved by the NHS”. He went further by recognising the shortage of helipads at major trauma centres and the need for centres to recognise “the important part of the local provision.”
Bill Sivewright, Chairman of the Association of Air Ambulances thanked the Minister for his comments, saying:
“The air ambulance community welcomes the Minsters comments and commitments on VAT on air ambulance fuel and the recognition of the issues around helipads. Each local air ambulance and its ambulance service must work closely with major trauma centres to establish helipads suitable for 24 hour operation which inevitably patients will need.”
The Association of Air Ambulances represents the majority of air ambulance charities, ambulance services and the supply chain throughout the UK and it supported the Reception which was the first of its kind, bringing patients, charities, ambulance services and legislators together.
With thanks to Helihub.com