Calling for return of VAT on fuel payments to the Air Ambulance Service
I have tabled an Early Day Motion (EDM 2709) 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. My Early Day Motion was tabled with cross-party support and be read here.
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, 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. I am therefore calling on the government to return in the form of grants to Air Ambulance Service 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.
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.