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  • Writer's pictureKenneth Gibson MSP

Police Scotland Only Force Made to Pay UK VAT

Police Scotland has paid a total Value Added Tax (VAT) bill of £76.5m since its formation in 2013 – and remains the only UK force which is unable to reclaim the tax.

Chief Constable Philip Gormley revealed the figure in a letter to the Commons Home Affairs Committee.

The news comes as Audit Scotland recently released figures warning police of an £85m funding gap, bringing the controversial VAT issue to the forefront of discussions.

Westminster’s Home Affairs Committee recently requested information from Police Scotland regarding its work training police forces of foreign governments.

Mr Gormley said:

“Finally you ask, in reference to a question posed by SNP MP Stuart McDonald, how much VAT Police Scotland is unable to reclaim, or has paid.

“Since Police Scotland was formed in April 2013 we have paid £76.5M in VAT and we remain the only police organisation in the United Kingdom to pay VAT.”

National forces recently introduced in Scotland are now controlled by the Scottish Government and the UK Government has decided that VAT cannot be reclaimed. However, The Scottish Government has since lobbied Westminster for a reintroduction of the VAT exemption, without success.

Following the committee meeting, a Scottish Government spokeswoman said:

“We remain deeply concerned about the glaring disparity of treatment between the service in Scotland and those in other parts of the UK where none of the other 44 forces have to pay VAT to the Treasury.

“We will continue to press the UK Government to bring their VAT status into line with all other British and Northern Irish Forces, as requested most recently in the letter of 24 February 2016.”

In December last year, Finance Minister John Swinney announced an extra £55m in funding for Police Scotland in his draft budget.


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