The UK Government has outlined its budgetary plans in a statement yesterday, amidst all the political claims and counter-claims that surround such messages.
The Chancellor of the Exchequor (a grand historical title that many countries would just consider as “Finance Minister”) announced that the VAT paid on fuel will be waived for these operations, subject to the organisation paying for the fuel being a charity. Apart from two EC135s operated in Scotland, all UK air ambulance services are operated by charities. However, while the fund-raising to pay for these helicopters is charitable, some operational contracts are written in such a way that it is the commercial operator who pays for the fuel. Cornwall Air Ambulance has admitted
that it is in this situation with Bond Air Services paying for the fuel, and will thus not benefit from the tax handout. They did not say whether their new contract from December – with Medical Aviation Services using two MD Explorers – will be the same format. No doubt other operations are also in this position.
The potential saving for each aircraft amounts to about £5,500 ($9,100) per annum. This move has been brought about by a concerted effort across most of the UK’s air ambulance operators lobbying the Government for the change – using the precedent that the Royal National Lifeboat Institution has been afforded this tax break for many years.
Jeremy Parkin – HeliHub.com