/ Mountain Rescue petition response

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Ewan_B on 26 Jun 2009
I just received an email reply to that Mountain Rescue petition that a lot of us signed a few weeks back. I thought I'd pass the link on.

http://www.number10.gov.uk/Page19788

"Thank you for your e-petition.

The Government fully appreciates the valuable work of mountain rescue and other rescue charities.

There are a number of VAT reliefs available to charities providing rescue and first aid services, including VAT zero-rating for certain specialist telecommunications, aural, visual, light enhancing or heat detecting equipment. Such charities are also able to buy VAT free, medicines, medical equipment, ambulances and certain vehicles designed to carry disabled people. These reliefs apply equally to all rescue charities. Zero-rating also applies to the supply, repair and maintenance of lifeboats and lifeboat equipment used by charities for sea rescue.

Our VAT agreements with our European partners, signed by successive governments, mean that it is not now possible to extend the scope of the zero rates available to charities beyond those permitted by EU VAT legislation.

We have, however, focused on areas where we can provide targeted support for charities. To promote charitable giving, we have made changes to Gift Aid, which have achieved a considerable increase in the number of charities and donors using the scheme, and taken measures to increase access to payroll giving.

Under the Gift Aid scheme taxpayers can make a donation of a sum of money to charity, and the charity can then reclaim from HM Revenue and Customs an additional 28p from every £1 donated. In 2007-8 the Government repaid £898 million to charities under the scheme."
Andy Cantrell - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Ewan_B:

There is probably an automated response to e-petitions stating that the government agrees but is powerless due to EU legislation.

Which exact piece of the EU VAT legislation insists that rescue charities pay VAT and the UK government may not refund it?

Foxache - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Ewan_B:

Oh so basically their hands are tied because of our EU membership? Well that's alright then!

What an enormous, steaming crock of sh*t.
Denzil - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Ewan_B: You'd think they hadn't even bothered to read the petition. Their comment regarding the RNLI getting everything VAT free is exactly what we were requesting parity with.
Denzil OMRT
dickie01 - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Ewan_B:
Conservatives and Lib Dems have agreed this was a crock of sh*T before the petition was undertaken and proposed measures to deal with it, so why can't labour?

This basicaly means that the public has to fund this service via charitable events, donations and volunteering whilst our tax goes to obviously more "important" things like anything contained within this link http://www.derbygripe.co.uk/govwaste.htm, nevermind guaranteeing the safety 30,000 people using the hills of the UK at any one time by ensuring the MR Service can afford to by the equipment they need.
dickie01 - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Ewan_B:
Hope you don't mind i copied your OP and posted it to some other forums that populated the petition.
Misha - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to dickie01:

One could argue that we chose to participate in dangerous activities, so why should the public subsidise the rescue services? Then again, if you get injured in a rugby match, you get treated by the government funded NHS for free. Also true for climbing accidents of course, the difference being that it's generally not too difficult to get from the rugby field to an ambulance or A&E. It does seem a bit inconsistent that rescue services aren't publicly funded or at least subsidised to some extent.
Andy Cantrell - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Misha:

I think the public should subsidise MRT just as it subsidises fire services and police services, who often help people who have gotten themselves into avoidable situations. The problem is MRTs are not subsidised and operate wholly on donations

VAT exemption does not require the government to give any money - just to stop taking it away. When we give money to the MRTs it is for Mountain Rescue services, not 17% for the government to spend on what they will.
dickie01 - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Misha:
the same of non smokers and smokers within the NHS, drinkers, non drinkers the obeses and the health conscious all these people are catered for subsidising the MR Service by exemping them from their VAT is not realy too much to ask considering all of the useless crap the government spend their money on that never has, does or will benefit anyone.
MJH - on 26 Jun 2009
In reply to Andy Cantrell:
> Which exact piece of the EU VAT legislation insists that rescue charities pay VAT and the UK government may not refund it?

There isn't one - they said they can not extend zero rates, which is different from offering a refund of VAT (which is often the mechanism that Govt uses).

The EU legislation is probably the 6th VAT Directive (or whatever it has been re-named to now).
Comms27 on 26 Jun 2009 - cpc2-hudd3-0-0-cust825.hudd.cable.ntl.com
In reply to Ewan_B:

The government continue to quote the vat relief available under notice 701/6 which of course is a joke. The only equipment my team has received vat relief on was for radios & first aid equipment.

However This Early Day Motion was heard yesterday
EDM 1750 MOUNTAIN RESCUE TEAMS AND TAXATION
25.06.2009


That this House pays tribute to the outstanding work of mountain rescue teams; acknowledges the dedication and skills of mountain rescue volunteers; is appalled that mountain rescue teams have to pay value added tax and vehicle excise duty on life-saving equipment; notes that these taxes cost the volunteer mountain rescue teams up to £200,000 a year; further notes that other emergency services do not have to pay taxes on equivalent equipment; is concerned that the Government has not yet announced an intention to exempt mountain rescue teams from these taxes despite indications from the European Commission that the UK could well be permitted to do so; and calls on the Government to announce such an exemption immediately.

http://edmi.parliament.uk/EDMi/EDMDetails.aspx?EDMID=38949&SESSION=899
gethin_allen on 28 Jun 2009
In reply to Ewan_B:
Just got back from a scorcher in the lakes and read this reply and two thoughts went through my mind:-
1) why did i ever think that they would take any notice of this petition.
2) seeing as ambulances are vat exempt, could a MRT land rover be considered a ambulance and bought tax free?
Andy S - on 28 Jun 2009
In reply to Ewan_B: So what they're saying is is that they are charging VAT to the Mountain Rescue but, if people donate through GiftAid, they will give some of that money back through those donations. Only works if loads of people donate through GiftAid though, which they don't.

"We can't/won't do anything but the people can."

Only if they're aware.
Graeme Alderson on 28 Jun 2009
In reply to Andy S: Could I ask for some clarification please. But first can I say that MRT should get all the help they can get, whether that is through donations or from tax breaks.

Gift aid v VAT exemeption. On a very basic level 28% v 15%. Well thats a winner isn't it.

But the main point. What is EU Law, I didn't think there was any such thing. I thought there was only EU Directives and it was up to the sovereign govt to decide whether to enact the Directives into national law. Can anyone clarify this point?
MJH - on 28 Jun 2009
In reply to Graeme Alderson: For Directives Govts have to put them into their national legislation, but they have a degree of flexibility on how they do it. It doesn't have to be a 100% copy, but it has to comply with the spirit. There are other types of EU legislation ie Regulations which have to be implemented exactly as written.

Having said which the Gift Aid vs VAT is a bit of a red herring. There is no direct link so it can work out well for some charities, but not for others.

Graeme Alderson on 28 Jun 2009
In reply to MJH: And for further clarification. Do sovereign nations have any input to the drafting of Directives or Regulations. And do elected representatives from sovereign nations have any say in whether these Directives and Regulations get enacted as EU Directives or Regulations?
MJH - on 28 Jun 2009
In reply to Graeme Alderson: Of course they do. What do you think our MEPs do in the European Parliament do? Or our ministers (and civil servants) as representatives of our elected Govt in the Council of Ministers?

Sorry if that sounds rude, but I find it amazing how little understanding of the EU we have in the UK. Not helped at all by the media.
stephen Rowley - on 29 Jun 2009
In reply to MJH:
> (In reply to Graeme Alderson) Of course they do. What do you think our MEPs do in the European Parliament do? Or our ministers (and civil servants) as representatives of our elected Govt in the Council of Ministers?
>
> Sorry if that sounds rude, but I find it amazing how little understanding of the EU we have in the UK. Not helped at all by the media.

I would tend to agree if you wanna found out more how the EU operates try this book http://www.amazon.co.uk/European-Union-Short-Introduction-Introductions/dp/0199233977/ref=sr_1_3?ie=...
Graeme Alderson on 29 Jun 2009
In reply to MJH: Thanks for your unknowing complicity in my plan to let others know how the EU works :-)
Silum - on 29 Jun 2009
Yup, got the email, read the response... was appropriately disgusted.

If ever I needed to be more fed up with political bull shit nonsense that they throw at us as a 'resolution'...this is it.

Its beyond belief honestly how disregarded public opinion is on minority issues like this. Mascaraeded by 'political speak' that completely neglects the entire petition and the thousands of individual tax payers who have signed it. What becomes of this? F*ck all because 'we' mean nothing. Then, why should the government do anything about issues like this if they can get away with not doing it? A bunch of government execs disconnected from the rest of us with a budget piece of paper in front of them... Good luck with the 'budget balance', just dont expect my vote.
ads.ukclimbing.com
MJH - on 29 Jun 2009
In reply to Graeme Alderson: FWIW the EU is due to start reviewing the VAT legislation pretty soon, so there is no reason the Govt could not ask for reform in this area.
Andy S - on 30 Jun 2009
In reply to Silum: simple words are often the truth. Well put.
In reply to Graeme Alderson:
> (In reply to MJH) Thanks for your unknowing complicity in my plan to let others know how the EU works :-)

I would like to be complicit in your evil plan as well. I refer the honourable gentleman to my earlier answer: http://www.ukclimbing.com/forums/t.php?t=359304&v=1#x5240719

I'm bothered by some responses here. The petition gets an answer - not a very satisfactory one - but still an answer. That is the starting point. It's not called the "political process" for no reason; you can't just start effing and blinding about the b*stard politicians and leave it at that if you actually want something done. I can't remember UKC being used as an organising tool politically, but it has huge potential that way.

I'm sure that some MRT people are doing exactly the right sort of things off the radar, but people here could use their righteous anger to help rather than just sounding off. Who are the MPs that climbers/walkers normally get a fair hearing from? What did the Commission say that makes the EDM petitioners think they might accept a new position on UK MRT VAT? Who is lobbying one this - BMC? MCoS? The MRT body - whatever its called? Individual teams? Ramblers Association? Is their coordination?
IainRUK - on 30 Jun 2009
In reply to TobyA: The thing is it's very easy to sign a petition and mouth off - hence why 1000's sign petitions all the time. Actually doing what you suggests takes work and some thought.
Dark Peak Paul - on 30 Jun 2009
In reply to Misha:

<One could argue that we chose to participate in dangerous activities>

The ‘voluntary’ nature of the participants’ plight is a non-issue arising from a popular misconception. In 2006 (last report published) there were 729 mountain incidents and 333 non-mountain ones. In the latter, the various MR groups were assisting police, ambulance, fire and coast guard services in a variety of ways, for free, usually assisting specifically vulnerable members of the general public.

Seems the government is saving on wages as well as taxes…..

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