'Delight' at Autumn Statement Announcement

CORNWALL Air Ambulance has reacted to the announcement of VAT relief for rescue charities in the Autumn Statement.

The announcement from UK Chancellor George Osborne sees the relief of VAT to all charities who work as part of the Emergency Response Service.

Cornwall Air Ambulance Chief Executive Paula Martin said: “We’re obviously delighted at the announcement of VAT relief to air ambulance charities; what a fantastic early Christmas present to our supporters.

“This brings air ambulances into line with other rescue charities such as the RNLI, who already receive similar exemptions.

“Clearly the devil is in the detail and until we know exactly what the new legislation will consist of, we won’t be able to say with any certainty exactly what impact this will have on us.

“Ultimately, though, this announcement is good news for our supporters as from April 2015 we estimate somewhere in the region of £80,000 will be saved in VAT payments, meaning more of our donors’ money goes where it is most needed: to keep Cornwall Air Ambulance flying.

“That amount is roughly equivalent to keeping the air ambulance in the air for about three weeks, so we still need the people of Cornwall to do as they have for the past 28 years and keep supporting their air ambulance.”

Cornwall Air Ambulance has been lobbying for the change in legislation for a number of years as part of its membership of the national Association of Air Ambulances.

A delegation from the charity visited Westminster earlier in 2014 to campaign on the issue at the annual reception of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Ambulances (APPGAA).

Guy Opperman MP, Chair of the APPGAA said: “Today’s announcement comes following further lobbying from members of the APPGAA following the Chancellors announcement on VAT on aviation fuel in his budget statement in April this year.

“Obviously the detail now needs to be considered and I am sure the 20 charities and 11 ambulance services that work tirelessly across the UK, will be rightfully looking at the detail of the Chancellors announcement and feeding back through the Association of Air ambulances their views.”

The announcement sees not only a financial saving but also a relief of the administrative burden, allowing charities to recover all VAT and being able to treat all expenses equally across its operation.