Lib Dem Tim Farron leads campaign for charities VAT exemption

Third Sector reports:

A Liberal Democrat MP is campaigning to win exemptions from fuel tax and VAT for mountain and cave rescue teams. Tim Farron, the party’s MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale, wants the coalition government to provide rescue teams with a VAT refund each year – a policy that was part of the Liberal Democrat manifesto.

“We’re hopeful,” said a spokesman for Farron. “We’re still awaiting a response from the Treasury, but this is something we can make a strong case for. These are emergency services, and they should be treated differently.”

Andy Simpson, a volunteer with Mountain Rescue, said that mountain and cave rescue teams in England got no government funding and paid about £200,000 a year in tax, mostly on fuel and essential equipment. The RNLI does not pay VAT on similar supplies, although it does pay tax on other expenditure.

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  • As I recall, Labour tabled an amendment to the budget bill calling for just this exemption, but it was turned down by the coalition – despite the fact that, as you rightly say, it was a LibDem manifesto commitment.

  • Charities shouldn’t be exempted from VAT. Great timing as the coalition launches a cmapign to simplify the tax system and the “big society” where everyone is so busy volunteering and being philantropic that charties get on with things without turning to the state for a handout.

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