MP welcomes launch of new scheme to bring funds to Suffolk accident rescue charity

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill has welcomed a new government scheme to support accident rescue char

Bury St Edmunds MP Jo Churchill has welcomed a new government scheme to support accident rescue charities. Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A new scheme to make £100,000 of funds available to accident and rescue charities will come into force tomorrow following a campaign led by the MP for Bury St Edmunds.

The Department for Health and Social Care will make thousands of pounds available to charities such as Suffolk Accident Rescue Service (SARS), to meet the costs of normally irrecoverable VAT on goods and services.

The scheme, which comes into force tomorrow, was incorporated in the 2017 Autumn Budget after MP Jo Churchill and SARS Trustee Harry Richardson made the case to HM Treasury officials.

Previously, VAT exemption did not extend to the purchase of rapid response vehicles unlike ambulances or vehicles used to transport the elderly.

For small charitable organisations operating alongside emergency services, this meant paying greater upfront costs to purchase vehicles essential to the service.

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Now, the grant scheme will reimburse eligible accident rescue charities for the value of VAT incurred on purchases of goods and services they do not normally qualify for VAT relief.

Jo Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, said: “This small yet significant change will make a real difference in supporting accident rescue charities like SARS, to continue their incredible work.

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“I am thrilled we were able to secure this vital change.

Harold Richardson, Trustee of SARS, added: “We are delighted that the government have taken this important step in recognising the enormous value of accident rescue charities such as SARS.

“There is always more to be done, and we want to ensure more people can benefit from the unique help that we provide.

“But none of this would have been achieved without Jo’s help in leading this campaign in parliament. We are hugely grateful to her for speaking up on our behalf and for helping to secure this grant.”

SARS is an emergency medical charity that provides specialist doctors and paramedics to assist the East of England Ambulance Service at the scenes of serious incidents.

The charity has been running for more than 45 years and operates throughout Suffolk and the border areas of Norfolk, Essex and Cambridgeshire. All SARS doctors and paramedics are unpaid volunteers.

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