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Farron Calls on Government to Repay Taxes to Mountain Rescue Flood Heroes

December 1, 2009 12:00 AM

Following tributes paid to the Cumbrian emergency services by Prince Charles for their rescue efforts during the recent floods South Lakeland MP Tim Farron has called on the Government to deliver much needed financial support to Mountain Rescue teams after thousands of pounds worth of equipment was destroyed during rescue operations during last weeks floods.

Despite providing a service which is estimated to save the taxpayer £6million a year, Mountain Rescue teams still have to pay VAT and vehicle excise duty (VED) on much of their equipment and vehicles.

Mr Farron has tabled an Early Day Motion in the House of Commons calling on the Government to repay the money taken from Mountain Rescue teams in VAT and VED as a demonstration of gratitude for the exemplary service during the last week.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"Mountain Rescue teams have provided a fantastic front line service in the battle against the recent floods. But the equipment and vehicles that they have used to save lives and protect and rescue people over the past few days will have been paid for by voluntary donations.

"Time and time again the Government has offered nothing but lip service to Mountain Rescue teams instead of the financial support that they need.

"Mountain rescue teams save the government in excess of £ 6,000,000 per year, but it appears that the government is prepared to take all and give nothing in return.

"At present, the only way in which the government provides financial assistance to Mountain Rescue teams is through gift aid; but in reality the majority of donations come from collection boxes, flag days and 'tin rattling' outside of supermarkets, none of which fall within the government gift aid guidelines.

"Given that Mountain Rescue teams have suffered thousands of pounds of damage to equipment that volunteer team members would have had to pay for themselves, surely the Government should agree to repay the £180k taken from Mountain Rescue teams as an act of fairness and of real tangible gratitude to our emergency services?"