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Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Budget: SNP calls on Chancellor to refund VAT to Scottish emergency services

Written by Jon Vale

The SNP has called for Philip Hammond to refund police and fire services in Scotland £140 million in VAT.

Ian Blackford said it was an absolute disgrace that VAT was charged in the first place, "and the sole blame for that lies with the Conservative Government".

The Chancellor used the Budget to end an anomaly that means police and fire services in Scotland are the only ones in the UK who pay VAT.

Mr Blackford (pictured), the party's leader in Westminster, said: "The Chancellor has confirmed today what we all knew all along, it was a political choice to charge VAT on our emergency services.

"He has accepted that he was wrong.

"But I'm calling on the Chancellor today, and his friends from Scotland on the Tory benches, to make sure that we push for a refund of the VAT that has been paid over the course of the last few years."

Mr Blackford also rubbished Mr Hammond's claim that the Budget would mean £2 billion extra for Scotland.

"Let me tell this House the reality, let me tell you the reality," he said.

"It's a £250 million cut in real terms. That's what the Government here is delivering to the people of Scotland."

In a half-hour speech, Mr Blackford criticised quantitative easing and said the Government had "betrayed public sector workers" by refusing to fund a fair pay rise.

He added: "What we're faced with is the United Kingdom falling to the bottom of growth in the G7.

"When we look at GDP per capita, for the years 2019 and 2020, what we see is that the OBR have reduced forecasts from 1.7% to 0.7% for 2019, and for 2020 from 1.9% to 0.7%.

"That is what post-Brexit Britain is going to look like. An absolutely shredding of growth forecasts for the next few years."

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2017, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) PA Wire.