Budget 2017: Scottish Tories credited with U-turn on blue light VAT
Scottish Tory MPs have been credited with finally convincing the Chancellor to axe the £40m-a-year VAT bill on Scotland’s police and fire services. Philip Hammond said he was getting used to having his “ear bent by 13 Scottish Conservative colleagues” following the party’s resurgence in June’s election. He confirmed Scottish police and fire services would be eligible to reclaim VAT from April, ending a four-year stand-off between Westminster and Holyrood.
Two cops mown down in hit-and-run awarded for bravery
Two police officers seriously injured when they were mown down by a stolen jeep have won bravery awards. PCs Debbie Lawson and Robert Fitzsimmons were on patrol in Knightswood, Glasgow, in October last year when they were called to a disturbance. The pair were attacked when a car they stopped suddenly reversed, dragging the two officers along the road. Debbie, who was hauled 45ft by the car, suffered several fractures and a punctured lung. Despite suffering serious injuries himself, Robert was able to pull Debbie to safety.
Seven Police Scotland officers investigated for gross misconduct
Seven serving officers are being investigated for gross misconduct after Police Scotland breached spying guidelines attempting to uncover a journalist’s sources. Police Scotland tasked the Police Service of Northern Ireland with investigating the officers’ conduct this year and this is due to conclude in the coming weeks.
Sturgeon dismisses Hammond’s £2bn for Scotland as “smoke and mirrors”
Nicola Sturgeon called Philip Hammond’s Budget pledge of £2billion for Scotland “smoke and mirrors” yesterday. The First Minister also rubbished Scots Tory MPs’ attempts to take credit for the decision to exempt Scotland’s emergency service from VAT payments. Police Scotland and the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service have had to pay the tax since they became single organisations in 2013 – the only such services in the UK required to do so.
Around 500 regular cops in Scotland to be armed with Tasers next summer
Around 500 regular cops will be armed with Tasers following a surge in police attacks by blade thugs. Bobbies can apply to be trained in firing the stun guns before they are rolled out across Scotland next summer. They will join the 275 specialist firearms officers who currently carry the 50,000-volt weapons. A source said last night: “At the moment only armed police routinely carry Tasers in Scotland. “There is no middle ground but this will see ordinary cops being given Tasers. They will need to be trained and recruited.
VAT’S BE HAVIN’ YOU
Hated tax axed for cops and fire service as 999 chiefs get £35million-a-year cash boost
Scotland’s skint emergency services were yesterday handed a £35million-a-year boost with a promise they’ll stop paying VAT from April — but SNP chiefs said it wasn’t enough.
Chancellor Philip Hammond said laws will be changed to give our cops and fire crews back the tax exemption they lost when regional divisions were merged in 2013.
Majority of Scottish officers want firearms
More than half of officers in Scotland want access to a firearm, a survey found. Respondents to the SPFs quiz on personal protective equipment found that 64% want to be able to carry a handgun. Some 73% of those aged 25 to 34 said they want access to the weapon.