Call for ‘air ambulance tax’ to be scrapped

North Devon is just one area which could benefit if Devon Air Ambulance were exempt from fuel VAT.

PEOPLE across the region have been urged to sign an online petition calling on the government to scrap fuel duties for air ambulance charities.

Devon Air Ambulance Trust spends around �60,000 a year on fuel flying missions from its North Devon’s airbase at Eaglescott, with �3,000 of that – almost the cost of an extra mission – being VAT.

Every penny increase in the price of fuel at the pumps adds an extra �2,000 to the charity’s fuel bill, with the proposed August three pence rise already threatening �6,000.

A national e-petition is calling on the government to return VAT on air ambulance fuel payments. Currently the RNLI is the only “emergency” charity to be exempt.


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The petition, created by Ken Sharpe, already has more than 122,000 signatories, enough to ensure it is debated in Parliament, but the more names the greater its weight will be.

Well-known North Devon fund raiser David Butt has called on local people to put their name to the petition:

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“Along with the rest of the West Country I was dismayed by the fuel duty increase in last week’s budget,” he said.

“The air ambulance is something any one of us could need at any time and then the government taxes it with fuel duty, which seems unfair and unnecessary, especially with a charity which seems to be doing a crucial job for them.”

On its North Devon fuel costs, the air ambulance pays five per cent, less than others services nationwide because the rest of its aircraft are currently leased.

“We are delighted at the response from the public to the e-petition,” said chief executive Hel�na Holt.

“We would urge anyone who hasn’t signed it to do so, as it will really make a huge difference, not just to us but air ambulance charities across the country.”

The petition can be found at epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/29349.

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