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Government given "green light" to help struggling mountain rescue teams

July 20, 2009 12:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on the government to reimburse ALL taxes paid by Mountain Rescue teams over the last 12 months, after the European Commissionaire, Mr Laszlo Kovacs, revealed that individual member states have the power to award charitable organisations direct subsidies.

The European Commission is currently undertaking a review of the provisions put forward in the VAT Directive, which could provide exemptions from VAT for certain categories of transactions carried out in the public interest, such as mountain rescue.

In light of Mr Kovacs revelation, Mr Farron has called on the Treasury to pay back the estimated £200,000 they've collected this year in VAT and other taxes from Mountain Rescue teams while the Commission carries out its consultation on exemptions to the VAT Directive.

Commenting

"As the British countryside awaits a bumper summer for domestic tourism, the demands on our volunteer mountain rescue teams are set to increase. Yet this government continues to take their hard work and valuable service for granted.

"When local people and visitors put money into the mountain rescue teams' collection buckets, they do not expect the treasury to snatch a sixth of their donation. 100% of those funds should go to helping mountain rescue volunteers to provide their vital service"

"The European Commission has given the UK government the green light to help Mountain Rescue teams with their finances. The government should act to allow mountain rescue teams to invest 100% of the voluntary donations that they receive in saving lives rather than having to give back thousands of pounds each year to the exchequer."