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Air Ambulances.

Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Air Ambulances.

There's an interesting debate in Parliament at present on VAT on fuel for air ambulances.  I know a number of forum members take an interest in their local air ambulances so may want to follow the debate.
The debate has been triggered by an e-petition signed by150,000 people.
It appears the air ambulances pay VAT on their fuel whereas other voluntary services such as RNLI do not.
The VAT amounts to £100,000 per annum.
13 REPLIES
Community Veteran
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Re: Air Ambulances.

It is rather crazy, but NHS Hospitals pay VAT on their goods. As they don't charge VAT on most of their services very little VAT can be reclaimed.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

The RNLI use "red diesel" in their boats,.... which is lower in price than "ordinary diesel".... also boat owners on the inland waterways use red diesel.... ( it is the same as the agricultural diesel for tractors)... however. I am in full agreement that the Air Ambulance service should not have to pay vat ... similarly, there would be a case for the "ordinary ambulance services" to be exempt from vat on their diesel fuel.
Of course, the treasury/government, will see it as a loss of revenue........ Undecided
Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

Needless to say the EU is involved in this abnormality.  Any charity having VAT free fuel prior to 1975 is exempt.  There were no air ambulances flying in 1975.  This is the reason for the difference between RNLI and air ambulances.
Another abnormality with air ambulances is how they are set up.  If the charity operating the air ambulance buys the fuel then VAT is charged.  Some air ambulances are leased to the charity and part of the lease includes fuel.  Under this condition VAT is not charged  Embarrassed
Community Veteran
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Registered: 31-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

Another EU rule that should be ignored in this case then, I'm sure the French would just wave 2 fingers  Lips are sealed
Community Veteran
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Re: Air Ambulances.

It seems bonkers to me. How can you put a price like VAT on a rescue service and human life?
It's just not right is it.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

The average cost of a use of the air ambulance is said to be £3000.  If they are allowed to keep their VAT it will mean a further 30 trips, many of which may be life saving.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

Yes I agree and lets be honest, £100k is a drop in the ocean compared to what they take of the collective group of motorists in this country in fuel taxes etc. It hardly seems worth them bothering the air ambulances does it.
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Community Veteran
Posts: 18,551
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

Whilst i agree with the air ambulances being allowed to reclaim their VAT it's not as simple as that. £100k may be a drop in the ocean but how many other drops in the ocean are there? The broad picture has to be looked at.  The air ambulances rely on donations and maybe it's time for government to recognize the vital job they do and make a contribution to the service.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

Fat chance of that happening! How long has the RNLI been going? They get nothing from the government.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 30-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

The problem with a government "donation"  is that it is unlikely to stop there. The next step would be government interference and a misguided view that ministers would be well employed putting a heavy booted quango into something they know absolutely nothing about, the result of which would be chaos in the Air Ambulance service, something they are far better off without.
No, keep these services including RNLI, Mountain Rescue (I've probably forgotten something really important) well away from any government interference.
If the price is fuel VAT, its probably less than other costs any government would find it necessary to implement.
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

Quote from: Petlew
The problem with a government "donation"  is that it is unlikely to stop there. The next step would be government interference and a misguided view that ministers would be well employed putting a heavy booted quango into something they absolutely nothing about, the result of which would be chaos in the Air Ambulance service, something they are far better off without.

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Community Veteran
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Registered: 12-08-2007

Re: Air Ambulances.

The air ambulance service wants to remain financed by public donations.  They do not ask and don't want to be financed by government. The RNLI is in the same situation.  This doesn't stop them being given a helping hand such as VAT relief etc.
Community Veteran
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Re: Air Ambulances.

The Wiltshire Air Ambulance is partly financed by th police - they share the use of the helicopter