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Intense SNP pressure on the UK government has paid off for Scotland’s emergency services after the Chancellor finally backed down to allow Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to reclaim VAT after years of unfairness.

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 overdue reversal is welcomed by the SNP, the refusal to repay the £140 million already paid by Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue means the Tories continue to short-change Scotland’s emergency services.

Ms Roseanna Cunningham MSP has criticised the UK government for this betrayal of Scottish Fire and Rescue and Police Scotland – and is calling on them to give Scotland back the £140 million we are owed to help our police and fire service.

Commenting, Ms Cunningham said:

“I absolutely welcome the news that the UK government will no longer be unfairly taking £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 emergency services in Perthshire South & Kinross-shire and across Scotland.

“If the UK Chancellor is prepared to accept - at long last - that it is unfair for Police Scotland and Scottish Fire and Rescue to pay VAT, how can he possibly justify keeping the money that has already been 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 Scotland’s 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 this band of Scottish Tory MPs really are.

“The feeble attempts by Tories to claim credit for this decision are hollow indeed.  It is the SNP, not the Tories who have been making the case for change – indeed the issue has been raised by SNP MPs 139 times while Tory MPs have not asked a single one.”

Roseanna Cunningham MSP, 63 Glasgow Road, Perth PH2 0PE  •  01738 620540   •   Website designed & hosted by Craig Mackay Design