Chancellor Stalls on Police and Fire VAT

By Reporter, The HighLand Times, Tuesday November 7 2017

The SNP is keeping the pressure up on the Chancellor to deliver a tax rebate for Scotland’s police and fire services, after the Treasury failed to confirm whether it would lift the unfair VAT burden currently imposed on Scotland’s emergency services.

Ben Macpherson MSP has again written to the Chancellor calling for Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to be able to reclaim the £35 million they pay to the Treasury every year, and for a reimbursement of the £140 million they’ve already had to pay out in VAT – after the Treasury dodged giving a clear answer to Mr Macpherson’s initial letter last month.

Mr Macpherson’s call has received cross-party support at Holyrood – with the Tories now the only thing standing in the way of allowing Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to reclaim VAT.

The Treasury has previously changed the rules to allow Highways England and Academy Schools to reclaim VAT.

Commenting, Ben Macpherson MSP said:

“The reply from the Treasury was weak and unconvincing – it’s time for Philip Hammond and his Tory colleagues to stop avoiding the issue and give our emergency services back the money they are owed.

“The VAT rules can be changed and they should be changed –the Treasury should end the unjust anomaly of our police and fire services being the only territorial forces in the UK unable to reclaim VAT.

“We in the SNP will not let up in our demands – the UK government must fix their unfair rules that are punishing our police force and our fire service.

“They changed the rules for Highways England, they fixed this issue for Academy Schools, and the BBC is also exempt, so it is high time the Tories took action by allowing our territorial forces to reclaim the £35 million they currently have to pay each year in VAT, and by handing back the £140 million they have already had to pay.

“Philip Hammond has a golden opportunity to right this wrong in the forthcoming UK budget – I really hope he takes that chance and gives our emergency services the VAT rebate they undoubtedly deserve.”



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