By former Stirling MP, Steven Paterson
Police have issued the description of a man they want to speak to in connection with the brazen theft of £140 million from Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service.
He is white, around 6”2 in height, aged in his early sixties with grey hair, and is sometimes seen posing for photographs in the vicinity of Westminster with a red briefcase. Police have warned the public not to approach this individual, as he is extremely dangerous to household budgets.
The Tory climb down on VAT charged to Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious. Philip Hammond, the current Chancellor of the Exchequer, announced that the deliberate and discriminate imposition of VAT on these emergency services is to end next April – but why was this unwarranted tax ever imposed by the UK Government in the first place?
At present, Scotland’s police and fire brigades are uniquely targeted for liability for this tax because they are funded directly by central government. Police forces and fire and rescue services in England and Wales are exempted on the grounds that they are funded through local authorities, although these local authorities themselves are funded primarily from central government. This is, then, a fairly obvious and deliberate bureaucratic mechanism being applied perniciously by the Tory UK Government as a method of imposing an unfair tax on Scottish emergency services, simply because they can.