The umbrella body for blood bike charities has estimated that they will save up to £400,000 through VAT refunds announced in today’s Budget.
George Osborne, the Chancellor of Exchequer, announced today that he would, from 1 April, extend the VAT refund scheme that already covers hospices, search and rescue and air ambulance charities to cover charities that deliver blood by motorbike.
John Stepney, chairman of the Nationwide Association of Blood Bikes, said this would help blood bike charities recover up to £400,000 a year, which would be invested in expanding existing services.
"We are delighted that the Chancellor has extended the VAT refund scheme to the blood bike charity groups," he said in a statement. "This decision is a reflection of the positive impact the blood bike volunteers across the country have had over the years, and underpins the recognition of the professional level of service that is provided free of charge to NHS hospitals."
The Chancellor also pledged to spend £75m from fines imposed on banks for manipulating the Libor rate on military charities and other good causes over the next five years.
Beneficiaries include the Royal British Legion, which will receive £3m over five years to support veterans with mobility issues, and the charity Skill Force, which will receive £185,000 to extend by a further year a programme that brings together ex-service personnel and disadvantaged schoolchildren.
Air ambulances will receive £10m of Libor fines to support a number of services nationally. The Chancellor said that beneficiaries would include Essex & Herts, East Anglian, Welsh and Scottish air ambulances, and the Lucy Air Ambulance for Children.
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust said it would receive £1.5m. Jane Gurney, chief executive of the trust, said in a statement: "We are extremely grateful to all our local MPs across both Essex and Hertfordshire who lobbied on our behalf, many of whom have visited the airbase and will continue to support us over the coming years, ensuring that our vital life-saving service can develop into the future."