VAT on Air Ambulance Fuel Payments

Part of United Kingdom Borders – in the House of Commons at 5:41 pm on 11th July 2012.

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Photo of Mark Pawsey Mark Pawsey Conservative, Rugby 5:41 pm, 11th July 2012

I certainly accept that point. One of the challenges for us, which is one reason why we have formed the new all-party group, involves trying to make the links that allow such interoperability. There is no point in having unused air ambulance assets dotted around parts of the country when they are badly needed in other areas. The point of an air ambulance is that a helicopter can move quickly between areas and provide such support.

A wide range of figures have been mentioned. The Association of Air Ambulances says that air ambulance charities across the country collectively generate an income of £46 million, with an average spend per helicopter of £843,000 and an average mission cost of £1,229. I accept that all those sums need to be raised through fundraising and that any savings that could be achieved would be welcome, but the cost of VAT on fuel needs to be seen in the context of some of the other significant costs, which put the total amount paid on VAT in perspective.

I fully support the motion’s tribute to our air ambulance services. They are worthy of more praise than they receive and I am glad that we have had the opportunity to pay tribute to them. I hope, however, that I have been able to put the cost of VAT on fuel in perspective and to suggest other, better ways of saving money through more efficient co-ordination of helicopter assets between air ambulance and emergency services. I hope that I have raised the concerns that the granting of a concession such as that asked for in the motion could be the start of a change to the unique method of funding our air ambulance services which involves the enthusiastic and active participation of volunteers up and down our land.