PRESSURE from the SNP has caused the UK Government to drop the VAT charge on police, MSP Rona Mackay has said.
In the budget today, Chancellor Phillip Hammond announced the charge would be dropped for Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Centre.
Previously, they had been the only two forces in the United Kingdom to be charged VAT — an anomaly caused by the creation of two national forces.
Ms Mackay said:
“The dropping of the VAT charge for Scotland’s police and fire services is a victory for all those in the SNP who have been relentlessly campaigning against it in Holyrood, Westminster and in the media.
“Just last month I spoke in the Scottish Parliament on the need to scrap these totally unfair charges.
“It shows what a well-organised SNP opposition in Westminster is able to achieve, in holding the UK Government to account, with the wider party behind it in Scotland.
“Sadly, this move falls short of refunding all the VAT our police and fire services have paid so far, around £140 million – this must be returned to bolster these forces as a matter of urgency.
“It is unbelievable for Scottish Tory MPs to try and claim credit – what argument did they give to the chancellor that the SNP had not already said in the more than 139 instances the SNP has formally called on it to be ended in debates, speeches, motions and more?”
Calls to Scrap Police and Fire Service VAT from SNP Representatives: 139
Party Press Releases: 19
Calls in Debates and Questions: 16
Calls in Motions: 2
Calls in Debates/Questions in the Chamber: 35
Calls in Written Questions: 3
Votes in House: 3
Calls in Press Releases: 2
Calls in Debates, Statements, Replies to MSPs: 34
Calls in letters to UK Government counterparts: 13
Calls in Meetings with UK Gov counterparts: 5*
SNP Representatives Calls at Conference: 3
SNP Calls in Manifestos: 3
*these are meetings which were a direct result of Scottish Government letters on the subject