To the Rescue

on January 24, 2010 in Politics

Mountain Rescue ServiceAs far as most people were concerned, mountain rescue was just a matter of winching ill prepared walkers from the Lake District or Snowdonia, but the recent cold snap has hilighted the larger scope of their role as across the country they have helped the emergency services cope with the treacherous conditions, you may also have been suprised (as I was) to find Mountain Rescue Teams in places that are only slightly bumpy.

Today, I was further suprised to learn that unlike the RNLI which is exempt, the Government charges VAT on the equipment that these volunteers use, in fact 35-45p of every £1 raised to fund this service is snatched away by various taxes (For instance 4×4 vehicles are essential to their work, yet in an effort to crucify the Chelsea Tractor more and more taxes have been heaped on their purchase and use).

The Government’s stance is to blame European rules on taxation and that it would be difficult to change the European rules since our voluntary service is fairly unique (most mountainous countries have state run rescue teams) and that the RNLI exemption was negotiated at the time of these taxation rules being put into place.

Although the Government’s litteral interpretation of the rules is correct, Laszlo Kovacs, the European Commissioner for Taxation and Customs, has pointed out that there is nothing stopping the Government from refunding the money using direct subsidies.

“Such tools are entirely a matter for individual member states and do not depend upon European Union legislation”

In the grand scheme of Govenment finances, the money snatched from the charitable doantions is small (especially when you consider how much it would cost them to provide the service themselves), but for the volunteers and those helped by them, the money would make a huge difference.

One Response to “To the Rescue”

  1. Mark Carroll says:

    A bloody scandal!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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