MP leads the way to back air ambulances

A NORTHUMBERLAND MP has formed the first ever All Party Parliamentary Group in support of air ambulances.

The first meeting of the group, which will be chaired by Guy Opperman, has taken place in the House of Commons.

More than 30 MPs have signed up so far to represent the interests of the vital service in Parliament.

They will continue the VAT debate – an e-petiton was lodged earlier this year asking for the Air Ambulance Service to be exempt from paying VAT through an arrangement with the Treasury.

The Association of Air Ambulances is supporting the group and will act as its secretariat.

Mr Opperman, whose Hexham constituency includes Ponteland, Stannington and Whalton, said: “The Air Ambulance provides a vital lifeline to rural areas like ours and it can literally be the difference between life and death.

“I am so pleased that so many of my colleagues in the House of Commons have agreed to support the group.

“It is a privilege to be its chairman and I hope it will help represent the interests of this vital service in Parliament. As we wait for the outcome of the review of VAT I hope we can also keep on demonstrating that there is genuine cross-party support to help cut its fuel bills.”