Call to end Scottish Police and Fire Service VAT bill

The £35 million annual VAT cost faced by Scottish police and fire services in contrast to other territorial police and fire services in the UK, will be raised by Finance Secretary Derek Mackay at a meeting of UK finance ministers today.

Mr Mackay has previously written to the Chancellor pressing the UK Government to bring their VAT status into line with all other UK emergency services, and will raise it again with the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, in Edinburgh later today.

Mr Mackay said:

“We want to invest in our emergency services and make our communities safer.  This commitment includes protecting the police resource budget in real terms in every year of this Parliament – a boost of £100 million by 2021. We also recently announced a further £25 million of reform funding in 2017-18 to support Police Scotland meet changing demands and we are investing £294 million in the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service in 2017-18, supporting its essential work to protect Scotland’s communities.

“However our police and fire services continue to face £35 million of unnecessary annual costs through VAT that they simply should not have to pay. This is a significant sum which other emergency services do not have to meet.

“There is a significant difference in the way VAT affects emergency services across the UK, with Scottish police and fire services paying VAT when other territorial services in the UK do not have to. There needs to be a level playing field for such essential services.

“As we continue to invest in our emergency services we will continue to press the UK Government for Scottish emergency services to have the same ability to recover VAT as all other British and Northern Irish Forces.”

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4 thoughts on “Call to end Scottish Police and Fire Service VAT bill

  1. Kupo

    It is absolutely shocking that we have to pay this, and only us, no excuse, and for what in return Little England doesn’t have to pay, little N.Ireland doesn’t have to pay, little Wales doesn’t have to pay. But, oh look, there’s too wee, too poor, too stupid jockland, we’ll make them pay for our fancy mansion upgrades in some VAT pocket change. I guess we must be too rich, too smart, too clever since they need us doing all the heavy lifing for them, don’t you think?

  2. bringiton

    VAT is just another Westminster tax and in this case just another excuse to reduce money available for public services in our country.
    Also noticed the heed bummer of Aberdeen cooncil yesterday on TV claiming that under the SNP,the number of teachers has declined.
    Didn’t they divert the extra cash they got from Holyrood for education to other things fairly recently?
    That is why the cash is now going directly to Head Teachers.
    Apologies for going off topic.

  3. stu mac

    It seems possible that the Scottish government miscalculated over this. There were good reasons for creating the national police force (though no doubt some reasonable arguments against) and probably the government thought that efficiency savings would eventually cover the losses in VAT exemption but of course budgets have constantly been cut due to Westminster Austerity.

    The Scottish government knew about the loss of VAT exemption from the start – I support the SNP government and would hate to see any of the other parties in power here but they can and do occasionally make mistakes and this may be one of them.

    Of course it’s perfectly valid for them to ask HMRC to reconsider their VAT policy in view of the damage it may do to the police authority.

  4. Jockanese Wind Talker

    Aye and while the UK Government starve Police Scotland to help with the SNPBaaaad reports from BBC and MSM they changed the law to allow academy schools to reclaim VAT, in England.

    If they can do that then they can change the law to exempt Police Scotland.

    But they won’t ‘cos it would benefit Scotland.

    And Westminster don’t do anything that might benefit Scotland ever.

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