MP backs air ambulance

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A NORTHUMBERLAND MP has put pen to paper in a show of support for the Great North Air Ambulance.

Sir Alan Beith has added his name to a Commons Motion calling for new Treasury rules which would act as a VAT exemption of fuel for air ambulance services.

The Lifeboat Service has been exempt for VAT on fuel costs since 1977, but at present air ambulances have to pay the tax.

European Union rules on VAT prevent the UK from unilaterally creating a new exemption, but the Treasury could return the money raised as a grant, which would have the same effect.

The Berwick-upon-Tweed MP said: “We are fortunate in Northumberland to have not only the Search and Rescue Service from RAF Boulmer, but also the Great North Air Ambulance, which can be invaluable in getting casualties to hospital quickly.

“I hope the Government will look closely at this suggestion as it would make a big difference to the level of funding for air ambulance services, which comes from a great deal of hard work and fundraising by local people.”