Saturday, 2 May 2015

Securing the Vat exemption and air ambulance funding is one of my proudest achievements

Leading the Air Ambulance Support group in the House of Commons has ben one of the best things I have done as an MP. It is a cross party group and our biggest achievement was getting the vat exemption on fuel for air ambulances. This followed a 2 year campaign, and a massive online petition and a big campaign locally led by the Hexham Courant:

The actual debate which began the long process of change is here:

Securing additional funding this year for all the air ambulances as part of a concerted campaign was a further example of cross party lobbying and campaigning by the association of air ambulances, who are seen here with myself and the Chancellor at Number 11 Downing Street. Subsequently, I recently met staff at the Great North Air Ambulance Service, which will receive £250,000 in extra funding to go towards a new base for the charity’s fundraising and operational teams.

The money was part of £5million from the Government to the Association of Air Ambulances (AAA) for equal distribution between twenty regional air ambulance services. The Government had raised the money through fines levied on UK banks for rigging the Libor interbank interest rate.

I have long been a supporter of GNAA, having previously walked the Pennine Way for the charity, raising over £1800 in doing so.

There are many people in my constituency and beyond who owe their lives to air ambulances, so it is hugely satisfying to have been involved in securing this funding. The funding changes we have been able to secure for the Air Ambulance will play a vital role on helping to save hundreds of lives every year. My work as Chair of the Air Ambulance group in Parliament has been one of the things I am most proud of.  It will make a real difference. The VAT changes alone, of which the Courant was a huge supporter, will help the Great North Air Ambulance fly an extra 10 life saving missions every single year. As the election draws close it is a reminder that when we work together we really can make a positive difference to our community.