‘Millions spent on VAT could have paid for extra police’
More than 500 extra police officers could have been recruited with money spent on VAT, it has been claimed. Scottish Labour said Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) had spent £140 million on the tax between April 2013 and March 2017 – enough to employ 547 additional police officers and 223 extra firefighters. Before 2013, police forces and fire brigades were controlled by local authorities which are able to reclaim VAT but that arrangement ended with the creation of Police Scotland and the SFRS.
A TOTAL of 38 adults were reported for buying alcohol for under-18s and two stores reported for “repeated” under-age drink sales during a North Lanarkshire-wide campaign. The initiative, entitled “ You’re Asking For It ”, was rolled out to Monklands in July with the aims of tackling under-age drinking, anti-social behaviour, crime and violence, and highlighting the impact and the consequences of proxy purchasing – including a jail term or fine of up to £5000. It has seen a 51 per cent reduction in reports of children drinking on the street, and Police Scotland analysts have also recorded a 10 per cent reduction in youth disorder incidents; with officials saying: “These results suggest children have found it more difficult to source alcohol as a result of the campaign.”
On the concourse at Haymarket station yesterday there was a market place event where the Council, along with a wide variety of transport partners, were raising awareness of hate crime and how to deal with it. We spoke with Culture and Communities Vice-Convener and Chair of Edinburgh Community Safety Partnership, Councillor Ian Campbell, who told us : “We want to really advertise today the fact that people are listening. We are here with a partnership between Edinburgh City Council, Police Scotland, the British Transport Police, Edinburgh Trams, First Bus and ScotRail to say that we are going to listen to any reports, and take seriously any reports of violence or discrimination on the transport system.
SNP ministers could have hired an extra 550 police officers and 220 firefighters if they hadn’t forfeited a tax rebate by merging the police and fire services, Scottish Labour have claimed. The party cited a new analysis showing Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service had been unable to reclaim £140m in VAT in the four years since their creation. The inability to reclaim VAT has been a long-standing SNP complaint against the Treasury, but Labour said ministers were warned well in advance it would happen. Before merger, the eight regional police and fire services were able to reclaim VAT because they were funded via local government, but are now centrally funded and cannot.