A CAMPAIGN to see VAT relief for Rapid Response emergency vehicles has taken a huge leap forward with the backing of Member of Parliament, Tim Farron.
The Liberal Democrat MP, who successfully campaigned for VAT relief for mountain rescue vehicles in his own constituency of Westmoreland, recently visited the team behind the West Berkshire Rapid Response Car (WBRRC) charity, based at the ambulance station in Newbury.
He met with the charity's chairman, Andrew Sharp, and Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Newbury and West Berkshire Judith Bunting, who has been a long-term supporter of the campaign.
Mr Farron said: “Rapid response cars can save lives.
"They are a vital service and the West Berks Rapid Response Cars charity does an amazing job.
"Judith is helping the charity to drive their national campaign on removing VAT that they have to pay.
"She has convinced me and many other MPs about the need to make this change.
"I will be supporting her and lobbying the Treasury on this."
The WBRRC is an independent charity, run on a voluntary basis, to support the emergency services in West Berkshire and the surrounding communities.
It receives no funding from the NHS or the government, and relies entirely on donations and local grants to run the service.
Mr Sharp said: "Since it was formed in 2004 the charity has attended in excess of 3,000 incidents.
"The current situation is perverse. Rapid-response medical cars that attend humans in urgent distress are not VAT exempt, while emergency vehicles dealing with animals are.
"We need this anomaly to be ironed-out and stop charging VAT on life-saving vehicles paid for and supported by charity."
Ms Bunting added: "The charity does a fantastic job and deserves to receive the same VAT benefits as the Air Ambulance Service and Rapid Response Boats.
"I am delighted Tim Farron has agreed to work with us."