MP calls for end to VAT anomaly

Angus MP, Mike Weir, is calling for the Treasury to look again at exempting the Scottish Police and Scottish Fire and Rescue Service from a continuing VAT anomaly.

Police Scotland is the only police authority in the UK unable to recover VAT and is liable to an annual cost of around £23 million. The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service is similarly disadvantaged, and is liable for an annual cost of around £10 million.

Mr Weir said the situation where Policing and Fire and Rescue Services was devolved to the Scottish Parliament but the UK Government didn’t treat them the same for tax purposes as other UK police and fire services was ridiculous and discriminatory.

He felt taxpayers in Angus and across Scotland were being short changed by the UK Government.

Mr Weir said: “The VAT anomaly that sees the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and Police Scotland pay tax the Treasury, no other UK police and fire services pay, must end.

“The UK Chancellor, George Osborne, needs to look again at exempting those services from the burden of VAT with suitable backdating.

“It is simply unfair as it is.

“It is discriminatory to taxpayers here in Angus and across Scotland because currently more than £30 million is handed back to the Treasury making it, in effect, a backdoor budget cut for Scotland.

“Not only does it take money directly from our emergency services but it also adds administrative pressure for those having to process these tax payments.

“This is an issue of fairness and I and my SNP Westminster colleagues are pushing the UK Government to act urgently to sort this issue once and for all.”