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MP: Mountain Rescue funding safeguarded

March 20, 2014 1:16 PM

Tim is a proud supporter of our Mountain Rescue teamsLocal MP Tim Farron & MEP Chris Davies have today hailed a government announcement that funding for Mountain Rescue has been safeguarded. At Transport Questions at the House of Commons this morning, ministers announced that the funding secured in 2011 will be protected.

The All Party Parliamentary Group, of which Tim is Vice-Chair won funding in 2011 which was due to run out this year. The Cumbrian MPs have since been campaigning for over a year pushing the government to commit to renew the grant holding regular meetings with ministers, and Mountain Rescue teams.

In a letter from Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to Tim in February said: "In 2011, the Treasury approved grants to be awarded to these organisations to cover the cost of purchase of equipment and training for their staff. Funding of £200,000 per annum for a four year period commenced in April 2011, and will finish at the end of March 2015.

"The Treasury is considering whether to providing [sic] further grants in 2015-16 and I expect that decision will be announced shortly."

As Vice Chair of All Party of the Parliamentary Group on Mountain Rescue Teams, Tim was a key player behind the government announcement that the funding - in recognition of the VAT they pay - would be given to volunteer mountain rescue teams. Tim has been pressing the government to provide certainty to Mountain Rescue Teams and agree that this funding will stay in place beyond 2015.

Tim is also working with local MEP Chris Davies to go even further and to scrap all VAT from the equipment bought by Mountain Rescue teams. The RNLI has a special VAT exemption from the EU and Chris Davies has called on the European Commission to expand the exemption to Mountain Rescue teams. To join that campaign Tim and Chris are asking people to sign their petition which can be found here: http://www.chrisdaviesmep.org.uk/mountain_rescue_eu_vat_consultation

Tim said: "This announcement is brilliant news and I want to pay tribute to my fellow MP's for working together to deliver this. Our Mountain Rescue teams do amazing work for people in desperate need. I cannot praise them highly enough - their determination and bravery always leaves me humble. They are real heroes.

"I am also working with Chris Davies MEP to cut VAT from everything our Mountain Rescue team has to pay for - they are the fourth emergency service and need to be treated in the same way as we treat the others."

Chris Davies MEP added: "Tim and the Liberal Democrats in government have done a great job in making sure some funding flows to our rescue teams but we will continue to campaign to change EU rules so the government can grant a full VAT exemption."