The Chancellor, George Osborne today announced in his autumn statement that he is awarding a significant grant to the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance. The seven figure sum will go towards the charity’s capital investment programmes based on a new helicopter and future basing needs.
Chief Executive, Adrian Bell said “The Chancellor’s statement today in which he granted the Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance Trust £1.5m, is a very clear and ringing endorsement of the critical service this Charity provides to its patients, and, as support to our capital investment programme, eloquent recognition of the need to ensure the long-term resilience and sustainability of this vital emergency service funded as it is through charitable donation rather than NHS finances.
As well as being extremely grateful to the Chancellor for this support, the Charity is also hugely appreciative of his move to exempt all Air Ambulance charity expenditure from VAT. In our case, this will release about £100,000 per year directly to frontline services rather than the Exchequer and equates to over 30 life-saving missions of the 1800 that the Charity undertakes annually.
We still have to raise over £6m annually to provide this life-saving service but I hope our many supporters will, like me, rejoice in the fact that yet more of their generous and so gratefully received donations will support this vital cause so directly.”
The Kent, Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance which celebrates it’s 25th anniversary next year became the first air ambulance service in the country to operate a 24 hours Helicopter Emergency Medical Service (HEMS) last September. In the first year of its night operations crews have attended over 430 patients as well as about 1,400 patients by day.