Search and rescue charities will receive Libor fines money

In the Budget announcement, George Osborne says the fund, of which armed forces charities are recipients, will be extended to Mountain Rescue England and Wales and lifeboat and air ambulance services

Mountain rescue, photograph by Paul Burke
Mountain rescue, photograph by Paul Burke

George Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has announced that he will extend the number of organisations that will receive a cut of the fines generated from the Libor rate-rigging scandal to include search and rescue charities.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales and lifeboat and air ambulance services around the country will be able to bid for a share of £10m from the fines imposed on banks.

The government announced last year that it would give the £35m that had been raised from Libor fines to armed forces charities.

At least 10 youth charities, including St John Ambulance, Girlguiding and the Scout Association have also benefited from a £10m-a-year pot of money from Libor fines for the past two years, which will continue into the new financial year.

But Osborne told parliament today that, because the Libor fine sums had continued to grow, he would extend the organisations receiving a share of the money to include search and rescue and lifeboat services.

Mountain Rescue England and Wales welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement and said it had been called upon to rescue people during the severe flooding over the winter.

"The positive is that this money will go back into the community, and it was the community and the public that lost out from some of these Libor deals," said Mike Francis, the chair of the charity.

The Association of Air Ambulances said it had received a £1.1m pledge in support of a new aircraft for London's Air Ambulance.

"This is just one example of how the Libor fine fund can be used, and association members can now apply to the Treasury for similar projects," said Clive Dickin, national director of the association.

The RNLI said it was awaiting the detail of the proposal but said it also welcomed the announcement.

Youth United has used the annual £10m fund given to it from Libor fines to support the opening of new youth projects in disadvantaged areas.

It said charities including the Scout Association and Girlguiding had opened 444 new groups during the past two years as a result of the extra funding.

"This new funding will enable more young people to get involved with scout, guide, cadet and brigade groups, particularly in deprived areas," said Rosie Thomas, director of the Youth United Foundation.

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