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SCOTLAND SHORT-CHANGED BY £175 MILLION POLICE AND FIRE TAX The Scottish Parliament’s Justice Committee has concluded that Police Scotland not being exempt from paying VAT remained a 'live issue' and remained 'an issue of debate'.

The conclusions were part of Holyrood's Justice Committee review of the 2012 Police and Fire Reform (Scotland) Act which is also concluded that the reforms had led to 'greater consistency of service across Scotland ... [which had] ... particularly benefited victims of crimes such as domestic or sexual abuse'.

Tory Justice Spokesperson at Holyrood, Liam Kerr, is a member of the committee while his party colleague Margaret Mitchell serves as the committee’s Convener.

Commenting on the report SNP MSP Rona Mackay - the Deputy Convener of the Committee - said: "It is significant that a report by a Committee on which two Tory MSPs sit - one of whom is the Convener - is prepared to say that the issue of a VAT repayment being withheld by the Tory government in Westminster has concluded that the issue remains live. "Despite the fact other territorial police and fire services VAT exempt the current Westminster government is short-changing Scotland’s emergency services to the tune of £175 million. "The SNP has consistently called for the debt to be repaid. Whilst Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service may no longer pay VAT, this repayment remains outstanding. “Whilst the Westminster government will happily squander billions on a Brexit shambles of their own making, or a pay-off for the DUP they continue to refuse to refund punitive VAT charges which have needlessly deprived Scotland’s emergency services of extra resources." Notes:

1. Report on post-legislative scrutiny - The Police Service of Scotland - Download 2. Reporton post-legislative scrutiny - The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service - Download

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