South Scotland MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed today’s announcement that the Chancellor will allow Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to reclaim VAT – after years of intense SNP pressure.
Scotland’s emergency services had been the only territorial forces in the UK unable to reclaim VAT – which costs the forces £35 million annually.
While the move is welcome, the Chancellor stopped short of refunding the £140 million which has already been paid by Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue.
Ms McAlpine has criticised the UK government for this betrayal of Scotland’s emergency services – and is calling on them to give Scotland the £140 million we are owed to help bolster police and fire services in Dumfries and Galloway, and across Scotland.
Commenting, Ms McAlpine said:
“We of course welcome the news that the UK government will no longer unfairly take £35 million from our Police and Fire budgets every year – and constant pressure from the SNP on this issue has made this win possible.
“However, the Chancellor does not go nearly far enough – and his refusal to refund the money Scotland has already paid shows how little the Tories care about Scotland’s emergency services.
“If they finally agree that it is unfair for Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to pay VAT, how can they possibly justify keeping the money they have already taken?
“The £140 million owed to Scotland’s emergency services is a drop in the ocean compared to the £1 billion the Tories threw to the DUP to prop up a weak and wobbly Prime Minister and government.
“The Chancellor has come up short in his commitment to our police and fire services. The refusal to repay the £140 million we are owed is simply yet another Tory betrayal of Scotland – and proves just how useless the band of Scottish Tory MPs really are.”