IT may not be generally known that thousands of pounds raised in the South West for the Air Ambulance service goes straight into Treasury coffers in the form of VAT.

This is because, unlike many other charities, our mercy service has to pay VAT on the fuel both its helicopters use.

Air Ambulance in the South West costs  more than £4.5-million a year to run and receives no financial aid from the government.

A petition calling on the Government to change its existing rules on VAT is already underway and I would urge all your readers to  add their signatures to it.

If  100,000 people sign there is every chance that it will be debated in Parliament.That other wonderful and life-saving charity The Royal Lifeboat Institution, has been spared VAT on its fuel since 1977. This petition would afford the Air Ambulance a similar privilege.

Air Ambulance  has proved itself to be a much needed and valued service throughout the UK and especially in the South West over many years.

I would appeal to all to take the time to sign this petition.

Trevor Colman

UKIP MEP South West