Responding to the Chancellor's announcement in his budget this afternoon that police and fire services will not be charged VAT in future, Scottish Liberal Democrat justice spokesperson Liam McArthur MSP said:
“The Chancellor has listened to cross party calls to end what has become a VAT anomaly. For our emergency services operating under huge strain this will be a welcome decision.
“However this situation could have been avoided altogether if it wasn’t for the SNP’s obsession with centralisation. SNP Ministers were warned but just not to listen. It is our police and fire services that have paid the price of that arrogance to the tune of £140 million.
“The Tories will seek to claim the credit but instead should shoulder some of the blame. They failed to oppose centralisation of policing and fire and rescue services, and even actively campaigned to see it happen. They also made no commitment to end the VAT charges at the recent Scottish or UK elections, unlike the Liberal Democrats. The truth is they have been forced into this u-turn, and thankfully so.
“What matters now is that our police and fire services receive the funds needed to repair the damage caused by the SNP's botched centralisation and that they are equipped for the future.”