Derek Mackay in Scottish police and fire VAT plea

Written by Tom Freeman on 14 February 2017 in News

Scotland's Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will use joint UK nations finance ministers summit to call for VAT relief for Scotland's emergency services 

Police Scotland - Ian Britton

Scotland's Finance Secretary Derek Mackay will call for police and fire services to get VAT relief in today's meeting between the finance ministers of the UK nations in Edinburgh.

It is estimated the annual tax bill for the services is £35m.

Mackay will host the Finance Ministers Quadrilateral in Edinburgh today, with Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Gauke, the Welsh Government’s Finance Secretary Mark Drakeford and Stormont Finance Minister Máirtín Ó Muilleoir.


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Most other emergency services across the UK do not pay VAT.

Ahead of the meeting, Mackay said: “There is a significant difference in the way VAT affects emergency services across the UK, with Scottish police and fire services paying VAT when other territorial services in the UK do not have to. There needs to be a level playing field for such essential services.

“As we continue to invest in our emergency services we will continue to press the UK Government for Scottish emergency services to have the same ability to recover VAT as all other British and Northern Irish Forces.” 

Audit Scotland published a critical report into Police Scotland's finances in December, prompting Audit General Caroline Gardner to tell MSPs: "The lack of progress that's been made in demonstrating financial leadership is unacceptable for any public body, but particularly for one of the scale and importance of policing in Scotland."

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