MacDonald backs calls for VAT refund for mountain rescue teams but calls on Grangemouth's International Rescue Corps to be included

The SNP’s candidate for Falkirk East, Grangemouth Councillor Angus MacDonald has backed calls by the SNP MSP for the neighbouring constituency of Falkirk West, Michael Matheson for the UK Government to treat Mountain Rescue teams fairly and refund or remove VAT from mountain rescue services – a move promised by the Lib Dems before the 2010 election.

SNP MSP Michael Matheson a member of Ochils Mountain Rescue has written to the UK Treasury Minister Danny Alexander calling for the abolition of VAT on Mountain Rescue services.
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However Angus MacDonald believes such a move should also include Grangemouth based International Rescue Corps, an Urban Search and Rescue team responding to natural and man made disasters all over the world using specialist skills and equipment to rescue trapped people.

Councillor MacDonald commented:

“I very much welcome Michael Matheson’s call for Mountain Rescue teams to be treated fairly through the removal or refund of VAT, however in recognition of the unique work that Grangemouth based International Rescue Corps do around the world saving lives following natural and man made disasters, and indeed working locally with the NHS in extreme weather conditions as we have seen over the past few weeks, any legislation, as promised by the LibDems, should include any UK based organizations that undertake humanitarian life saving missions abroad as well”.

Lib Dem Treasury Minister Danny Alexander said it was part of the “debt” owed to Mountain Rescue to remove VAT from  only a day before the General Election campaign.

VAT is estimated to cost mountain rescue teams between £150 - £200,000 .

In recent weeks mountain rescue teams have supported the NHS through the snow with their 4 x 4 vehicles and the volunteer forces remain on constant standby to help people in our outdoors.

Falkirk West MSP Michael Matheson said:

“It is utterly ridiculous that Mountain Rescue teams continue to pay VAT.  It is estimated that Mountain Rescue team pays £150,000 to £200,000  a year in VAT.  With 12 teams in Scotland that is money that could be spent on new vehicles, training or equipment that could help save lives.

“The day before the UK election Danny Alexander said anyone who uses our outdoors owes mountain rescue a debt.  The UK Government owes mountain rescue more than a debt, it owes them hundreds of thousands of pounds in VAT – not just in Scotland but across the UK.

“This is yet another Lib Dem promise turned sour.  Mountain rescue do an incredibly valuable job and they should be supported.  Instead of taking VAT off mountain rescue the Lib Dems are now putting it up.

“The SNP Government has backed mountain rescue with £300,000 of government funding.  It is time the UK Government paid it’s dues, scrapped the VAT and supported our essential outdoor services.”

Copyright © Angus MacDonald MSP 2017

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