MP secures fuel tax debate on air ambulance issue

A CALL by a North East MP for greater support and recognition for the lifesaving air ambulance service is to be debated in Parliament.

A CALL by a North East MP for greater support and recognition for the lifesaving air ambulance service is to be debated in Parliament.

Hexham Conservative MP Guy Opperman has secured the House of Commons debate on the future of the air ambulance service for July 5.

MPs will discuss a motion laid down by Mr Opperman which states: “This House supports wholeheartedly the work and actions of the air ambulance service nationally, and all the individual crew members and staff, who provide an outstanding service to people up and down the United Kingdom.”

The motion also aims to find a solution to the air ambulance having to pay VAT on fuel, which is a huge cost to the charity.

Mr Opperman calls on the Government to carry out an urgent review of the VAT issue, consider providing grants to the air ambulance service and work on a national and European cross-party basis to reform the EU VAT directive, so that the service is formally excluded from the directive.

Mr Opperman, who last year helped organise a charity quiz night for the Great North Air Ambulance Service, said: “I am so pleased that the House has agreed to my debate on this very important subject. The air ambulance provides a vital service, especially in our rural communities where it can often literally be the difference between life and death. I hope now we can get some cross-party support to help cut the fuel bills which it has to pay. People often forget they are a charity and our campaign to support them will hopefully get a boost from this debate.”

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