Police and Fire VAT Bill 'Unfair'
21 June 2015, 07:14 | Updated: 21 June 2015, 07:17
Labour's shadow Scottish secretary will attempt to save Scotland's police and fire services millions of pounds by making them exempt from VAT.
The old regional services were exempt from VAT but this tax break was removed when they became national services, severing the link between local government.
Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have branded the tax unfair as other London-based national bodies, such as the new Highways England, have been made exempt from VAT but the Scottish Government has not convinced Westminster to extend the exemption.
Labour's shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray has today pledged to lodge amendments to the Scotland Bill calling for a Treasury review of the exemptions from VAT of these crucial services.
He said: "The situation around VAT liabilities with our police and fire services is a complete and utter farce; it's time to end it.
"The SNP Government in Edinburgh have slashed the budget for our police and firefighters, and in the process created VAT liabilities running into tens of millions of pounds.
"The SNP Government was warned that their plans to reorganise emergency services would cost millions in VAT refunds but they still pressed ahead anyway. This is a mess of the SNP's own making and the Tories have refused to do anything about it.
"It's time to resolve this issue with a proper review of VAT exemptions for the emergency services.
"The Tories and the SNP should come together to support my amendment. Public safety should not be put at risk because two sets of politicians cannot agree on tax liabilities.''