VAT refund will make ‘massive difference’ to Sheffield causes

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pictured during his visit to St Luke's Hospice, where he toured the hospice's new in patient care centre.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg pictured during his visit to St Luke's Hospice, where he toured the hospice's new in patient care centre.
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A refund in VAT for charities will make a ‘massive’ difference to good causes that aid Sheffield people, the Deputy Prime Minister has said.

Nick Clegg spoke after the refund, which will apply to hospices like St Luke’s in Whirlow, was confirmed in the autumn statement.

The measure, understood to apply to certain non-business supplies, aims to put hospices in particular on a more level footing with NHS providers after years of ‘unfair’ rules.

Sheffield Hallam MP Mr Clegg told The Star: “For example St Luke’s have spoken about it to me many times in the past and this will make a massive difference to them - one of our most beloved organisations.”

A spokesman for St Luke’s Hospice said that, until the Government provided more information on the refund, it was unable to say what the impact would be.

Bosses at Yorkshire Air Ambulance - which is also eligible for the refund along with search and rescue teams - welcomed the news.

Peter Sunderland, chairman, added: “We are absolutely delighted to hear that the Chancellor will be relieving the five per cent VAT that we currently pay on our fuel.

“This will mean that as a charity, we will be saving around £7,000 per year.

“This money can now be used to help fund the running of both of our life-saving helicopters.

“It costs £9,990 per day to keep both of the helicopters in the air and helping to save lives, and we are delighted with this extra bit of support from the Government.”

Mr Clegg said other measures announced in the statement, which would have an impact on Sheffield, included abolishing employer National Insurance contribuions for apprentices aged under 25.

Sheffield is one of the top performing cities in the country for creating apprenticeships and it is hoped this change will make it easier for employers to take on young people.

Mr Clegg said: “This was one of the measures that was a little bit overlooked in the statement but is very important because it removes one of the reasons for an employer not to take on an apprenticeship, and we haven’t seen as many apprenticeships in Sheffield for a very long time.”

And both of Sheffield’s universities are expected to benefit from a new loans system for post-graduate students.