VAT refunds for hospices are among the measures in Chancellor's Autumn Statement

Other measures include refunding VAT to rescue and air ambulance charities, using Libor fines to finance new air ambulance helicopters, exemptions from inheritance tax and relief for indirect investors in social enterprises

George Osborne
George Osborne

Hospices will be given VAT refunds to put them on a more level footing with NHS providers, the Chancellor has announced.

George Osborne used his Autumn Statement today to say that search and rescue and air ambulance organisations would also be refunded their VAT costs.

He told the House of Commons that hospice charities "have long been subject to unfair rules that force them to pay VAT, when the NHS does not".

He said: "I am today refunding the VAT that these hospice charities incur."

Hospice UK, which represents organisations that provide hospice care, said the move, which it said would apply to certain non-business supplies, would be worth more than £4m a year.

The Association of Air Ambulances said it expected air ambulance charities to save about £10m over the next five years. 

Osborne also used his speech to announce that the government would use fines from banks levied after the Libor rate-rigging scandal to finance new helicopters for both the Great Western Air Ambulance and the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance.

He said that aid workers who died dealing with humanitarian emergencies would be exempt from inheritance tax on their estates, as already applies to those in the armed forces who are killed while on active service.

Documents released alongside Osborne’s speech show that the government will increase the annual investment limit for Social Investment Tax Relief to £5m a year, up to a total of £15m per organisation.

The government will also "consult further on a new relief for indirect investment in social enterprises", the documents say.

Look out for a special bulletin with full Autumn Statement coverage later this afternoon.

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