Local MP Stewart Jackson recently showed his support for local hospices by attending a briefing on Irrecoverable VAT, hosted in parliament by Sue Ryder, Help the Hospices and the National Council for Palliative Care.

The NHS is able to recover VAT on some non-business supplies (catering, laundry, staff training, vehicle and maintenance costs) that charities cannot.  This means that when an NHS hospice is transferred to a charitable provider there is a ‘VAT gap’. 

Hospice providers have long campaigned on the issue of irrecoverable VAT.  They are major providers of care and support to people affected by terminal illness, and are seeking fairness with other healthcare providers on how VAT rules are applied.  The campaign that Sue Ryder, Help the Hospices and NCPC highlighted recently calls for the government to take a first step in levelling the playing field between the NHS and charities by ensuring that when a service is transferred to a charity in the future, they are afforded the same VAT recovery rights as the NHS.  This can be a cost neutral policy which simply prevents the Treasury from receiving a tax windfall from charities.

Commenting, Stewart Jackson MP who served for five years on the Appeal Committee of the Light Fantastic Fundraising Campaign raising funds for the Sue Ryder Hospice at Thorpe Hall said:

“I’m delighted to show my support for Help the Hospices, NCPC and particularly my local Sue Ryder hospice, Thorpe Hall.  Hospices provide cherished and vital health and social care to End of Life patients across the country. They do this on an average of just 34% statutory funding from government.  I am always happy to support Sue Ryder and earlier this year helped launch their capital appeal for the new hospice at Thorpe Hall.

“Local people give generously to support the wonderful work hospices do in their communities.  When they donate these funds they expect them to go to frontline care delivery and not to meet additional VAT costs.

“I hope Treasury and Department of Health Ministers will strongly consider taking action on this issue to show the Government’s support for the charity sector.”

Commenting, Sue Ryder Chief Executive Paul Woodward said:

“We whole-heartedly support the idea of charities delivering more high quality, innovative and cost-effective public services but this is only possible if we are afforded the same VAT benefits that the NHS are given.  I am so pleased that Stewart Jackson MP could join us today to support our campaign.

“Irrecoverable VAT is a significant burden on all our care services.  One of our hospices incurs £25,000 per year that could be recovered if the service was managed by the NHS.  These funds would allow the hospice to employ a nurse for nearly a year, provide 1,500 bereavement sessions for families who have lost a loved one or provide 2,500 hours of support from a carer.  The benefit of Sue Ryder’s services to individuals, families and communities is not quantifiable.  It’s priceless.”

Commenting, Help the Hospices Chief Executive David Praill said:

“The coalition government has committed to a level playing field for all organisations providing public services. But the additional financial burden that hospices face through VAT acts as a barrier to the expansion and development of the essential and highly valued care that hospices provide.  Most of the funding to provide hospice care comes from local people, not from the government.  The extra VAT burden for hospices would be far better spent on providing more care to more patients, families and carers.  We are grateful that [   ] MP is lending their support to our campaign for a fairer VAT deal for hospices.” 

Commenting, Director of Policy & Parliamentary Affairs for NCPC Simon Chapman said:

“We only have one chance to get end of life care right, which is why it is so important that hospices are not unfairly disadvantaged. The Government should take action now, not only to show its commitment to the fantastic work done by charities in running hospices, but importantly to help ensure that people who are dying don’t miss out because of a current anomaly in how VAT is applied.”

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