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Police VAT issue

Published: 1 Aug 2017 00:01

Call to end £35 million police and fire VAT bill.

It is unacceptable that police and fire services in Scotland remain the only territorial forces in the UK unable to reclaim the VAT they incur on the purchase of goods and services, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said today.

Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service still face an annual VAT cost of around £35 million per year, unlike other territorial services in the UK.

Following reports that the UK Government is finally considering equal treatment for Scotland’s emergency services after Scottish Government pressure, Mr Mackay called on the UK Government to end this anomaly in the future and for there to be a level playing field for such essential services.

He said:

“We have repeatedly called on the UK Government to end the glaring disparity in the way that VAT affects emergency services across the UK, with Scottish police and fire services facing £35 million of unnecessary annual costs which other territorial services do not have.  This is unacceptable and I will be pursuing with the Chancellor whether the reports he has changed his mind are true or simply more mixed messages from the UK Government.

“We have repeatedly made clear that the financial support we are providing for our frontline emergency services would go much further if Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service were able to recover VAT.   

“Any move to end this would be welcome - it would make a real difference to frontline services in Scotland.”