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MP calls on Treasury to end VAT on first responders groups

March 6, 2013 1:01 PM

TF ruralLakes MP Tim Farron has called on Treasury ministers to axe the VAT from first responder groups.

In rural areas like ours First Responder teams play a vital role and save people's lives.

Currently First Responder teams in our area have to pay VAT unless the group is registered and has been given charitable status. For many local groups in Cumbria that is an administrative minefield. According to the St John's Ambulance defibrillators cost around £900 plus VAT which is 20%.

Around 30,000 people have a cardiac arrest each year outside the confines of a hospital. The chance of survival after the heart stops falls by around 10% for every minute that passes without defibrillation.

Tim has called on the government to set up a simple register of First Responders, this way vital equipment like defibrillators could be bought without VAT.

This is Tim's second suggestion for the upcoming budget on the 20th March, he has also suggested that the Chancellor create a fuel derogation scheme within the county which would cut petrol prices by 5p a litre.

Tim said: "We have many committed First Responder groups in our region who provide an amazing and much needed service. A simple change in the tax rules could help our fine responder groups spend every penny they have on vital equipment rather than unfair taxes. I think the least the government could do is remove VAT. In rural areas like ours these groups save lives - I will keep lobbying the government hard on this issue."