/ NEWS: Government Taxes Mountain Rescue £200,000 Per Year
The Mountain Rescue (MR) for England and Wales is donation funded and staffed by volunteers. They receive no remuneration for their efforts, but are rewarded with a large tax bill.
"We are constantly met with a brick wall when it comes to government making concessions to us on taxes"
Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/news/item.php?id=48199
I wander what the government would do if all the mountain rescue services for England and Wales would seize to be, all volunteers to back down ?
I think there would be such a public outcry that the government would then fund the MR teams as there would be a soaring casualty/mortality rate on the hills !
This would be a drastic action to take but might make the government sit up and apreciate the work that the MR teams do.
It might sound immorally wrong but, will the MR teams still be rattling their coin boxes for funding for the next shout !
Just had a response from Dave Turnbull, Chief Executive of the British Mountaineering Council:
"The Mountain Rescue Teams do a great job nationwide and the BMC would of course support the MRC in their efforts to gain VAT exemption."
The Ramblers Association next?
The government are very good at giving with one hand (gift aid on charitable donations) and clawing back with the other. How long are we going to let them get away with it for?
"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."
This from our government. Its hard not to be anti European when you hear
statements like this, why on Earth should our country be bound by pointless
European regulations which are unsuitable for it?
Yet again the beurocrats utterly fail to understand the concept of voluntary organisations.
Which MPs (and Lords) enjoy mountain walking / climbing?
Does this only apply to MR in England and Wales or throughout the UK? I would imagine the BMC is campaigning on behalf of everyone.
Worth raising this with MEPs.
> Which MPs (and Lords) enjoy mountain walking / climbing?
Good question. I'm not certain if a list of "other interests" appears against MPs entries but I suggest that all climbers and walkers try and make an effort to find out if their local MPs partake? Concentrated lobbying might help bring about a U turn
Get off your soapbox and read the article! It states that the EU, when approached directly are supportive. Once again, however, the UK government uses the excuse of EU agreements to avoid the issue. This is a classic bureaucratic ploy "I'm a reasonable man but my hands are tied"
This is just a case of poor government. The simple answer is that they could, if they wanted to, find a temporary solution, whilst in the long term rewrite the EU tax agreements to allow exemption for MR. But they can't be arsed, so they blame it on the EU.
Let's not forget, this isn't just about getting rescues for mountaineers and climbers. Every rescue team also regularly goes out looking for missing people - the vulnerable, mentally ill, etc on behalf of the police. They help during flooding, other natural disasters, and of course the aftermath of things like Lockerbie. So for the government to make use of their services but also generate revenue from them is obscene.
A good point, well made.
I found this in the local "on-line rag"
> Every rescue team also regularly goes out looking for missing people - the vulnerable, mentally ill, etc on behalf of the police. They help during flooding, other natural disasters, and of course the aftermath of things like Lockerbie. So for the government to make use of their services but also generate revenue from them is obscene.
Some do, but not to the tune of £200k
I couldn't find a list of "other interests" of MPs or MEPs
My MP (Roberta Blackman-Woods) and MEP (Fiona Hall) both have web-pages (do any MPs or MEPs not have web-pages?), neither list mountain sports amongst their hobbies.
Could anyone suggest a form of words for a letter?
Did David Blunkett need a rescue?
I wonder how the MPs responsible for these bad decisions would feel if they had to be saved by by our recue teams?
Can MR not register for vat and claim it back on purchases ?
Perhaps we should try a similar move. The majority of us must be over voting age?!
The Govt are technically correct that they can not just hand out VAT zero rates because of EU legislation.
They could if they wished to refund the VAT paid by MRTs.
Re-writing EU Directives is not as easy as all that as for taxation you need unanimity amongst the EU27 (rather than a qualified majority).
> Can MR not register for vat and claim it back on purchases ?
No because to do that they would need to be providing a taxable supply. Irrecoverable VAT is a massive issue for all charities - charities are treated as the final consumer in many cases (VAT passes through the supply chain to the final consumer).
From the Revenue website "If youíre VAT registered you can reclaim the VAT that you are charged on purchases relating to your taxable business activities. However, you canít reclaim the VAT you are charged on purchases relating to your exempt business activities or to any non-business activities."
I found nothing to say you have to make a profit. So if all activities had a one penny charge, then they would be business activities. The vat could be claimed back on any purchases related to them. (Possibly ?)
BTW the Finnish govt. is being sued by the Commission in the ECJ currently because the Finnish govt. had given lawyers who do legal aid work VAT exemption. There the Commission clearly says that is NOT legal under EU legislation and have taken Finland to court to prove it. Presumably the Finnish govt. aren't convinced of their interpretation. Anyway it suggest if the COmmission say 'not a problem with us' its probably HMG not wanting to help out, not the EU.
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