That serves to highlight the unique nature of the air ambulance organisations.
On the payment of VAT, or any other tax, let me quote from a representation from Warwickshire and Northamptonshire air ambulance:
“Along with the rest of the world, we would welcome any reduction in taxation levels and in an ideal scenario we would pay no VAT on any aspect of our service.”
That is right, of course. In an ideal scenario—when we are enjoying periods of sustained economic growth and there is no pressure on Government finances—many different kinds of concessions can be made, but unfortunately this Government have been left with a structural deficit, so they may not be able to fund all the items of expenditure that we might want. The air ambulance service made this point to me:
“In the current fiscal climate we believe that charities and organisations like ourselves whose sole aim is to benefit our communities, should not seek further strains on the public purse.”
There is a contrary view, therefore, and it is held by the air ambulance service based in my constituency.