George: Government should scrap VAT levy on lifesaving charities

Posted on: 10th November 2014

West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has stepped up his call for the VAT levy on charities raising money for essential lifesaving work, including public access defibrillators, to be lifted.

Mr George said, “I previously raised the unfairness of VAT being levied on charities which raise money for defibrillators with the Treasury and Health Ministers. I’ve been working with the Penzance based defibrillator charity – the Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity – and others to urge the Government to be reasonable. It’s simply not right for the Treasury to profit from the hard fundraising efforts of charities which are, after all, supporting the work of Government funded NHS services.

“It’s good that charities benefiting from the Tower of London poppies are set for a £1 million boost after the Government announced that they would waive the VAT from the sale of the ceramic flowers. But if the Government has accepted this case they should certainly apply the same principle to those raising funds to by health equipment which, if purchased by the Government would not be subject to this 20% tax.

“The lifting of VAT to charities must be consistent. The VAT bill on charities trying to raise money for essential life saving equipment such as defibrillators is unfair, unjustifiable and should be lifted.

“I am asking Treasury Ministers to think again.”

Secretary of the Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity, Paul Williams, said, “The RRMC are very appreciative to Andrew on behalf of all Cornwall in taking up the campaign to Government in the battle to abolish VAT on essential needed public access defibrillators (PADs) in the battle against sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) that claims one life every 5 minutes in the UK. Shockingly, the figure includes one child’s life in school every day.

“The RRMC are the only organisation in the UK that has embraced a full PAD program covering public, communities, schools, all sports and extended cover on beaches.

“The RRMC has rapidly expanding 131 PAD sites across Cornwall either in situ or being actively fundraised supported by Town Councils, Parish Councils, Councillors, Lions Clubs, Rotary Clubs, Schools, Banks, Businesses, Public, Communities, TV, Radio, etc.

“The RRMC work very closely with major agencies to ensure the best possible infrastructure is in place. We have an expanding county network of trainers that the overall community figure trained to date is over 2,000 including the first two secondary school students in the UK Humphry Davy, Penzance & Cape Cornwall, St Just at a combined total of 1,300.

“Jersey, who have a successful PAD program running nearly 10 years with many lives saved, have equipment very closely linked minutes apart which we are following.

“The RRMC & public believe that public access defibrillators (PADs) should be a Government nationwide funded program so feel deeply hurt and outraged that not only do we have to pay for the equipment ourselves but Government charges tax on it which is undoubtedly costing lives and damaging fundraising efforts. Westminster is well equipped with public funded ready accessible AEDs for politicians and so well aware of their importance. Indeed, previous Prime Minster Gordon Brown had a publicly funded accessed AED from the boot of his car at a Labour Conference Meeting that was used successfully to save the life of one of its members.

“Andrew twice through me has taken the PAD tax issue to Government Treasury Minster David Gauke who was totally dismissive. Several thousand people throughout Cornwall are calling on the abolition of the tax which Andrew again is taking to Parliament. We are preparing a 100,000 petition needed for the case to be heard in the House of Commons.

“I will contact every MP & councillor across the UK to support and sign our petition as part of going to the media. The dubbed ‘killer tax’ is unfair and an insult to every family and community who has lost a loved one.

“A massive thanks to HRH Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, for his kind monetary donation to the RRMC towards PAD equipment – We will be seeking his comments and help in protecting his loyal Cornwall subjects.”

*The Ronnie Richards Memorial Charity invites the public, communities, schools, sports and beach cover officials to sign up to the Cornwall public access defibrillator program. For information contact RRMC secretary Paul Williams by email /Tele: Landline 01736 360864/ Mobile: 07581188043