News story

Chancellor to waive £1 million VAT on Tower of London poppies

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Government will donate amount equivalent to expected VAT receipts from sale of the poppies using some of LIBOR fines collected from banks.

The Chancellor has today (Thursday 6 November) announced that the government will waive the expected VAT of up to £1.1 million from sales of the poppies used within the First World War commemorative installation, The Tower of London Remembers: Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red, at The Tower of London.

Using some of the LIBOR fines collected from the banks, the government will donate an amount equivalent to the expected net VAT receipts from the sale of the poppies, which is £1.1 million, to six charities who provide valuable support to injured Armed Services personnel and their families.

The six charities that will benefit from today’s announcement are:

  • Cobseo – a body that works to maximise the charitable support to the Armed Forces community through co-operation, co-ordination and collaboration of organisations working in the Service Charity sector

  • Combat Stress - the UK’s leading military charity specialising in the care of Veterans’ mental health, treating conditions including Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety
  • Coming Home - the fundraising campaign for Haig Housing Trust, which provides specially adapted homes for seriously injured and disabled Servicemen and general needs housing for ex-Servicemen and their families.
  • Help for Heroes – a leading charity that inspires, enables and supports those who have made sacrifices on our behalf to achieve their full potential
  • The Royal British Legion - the nation’s largest Armed Forces charity, providing care and support to all members of the British Armed Forces past and present and their families.
  • Soldiers, Sailors, Airman and Families Association (SSAFA) - provides lifelong support to anyone who is currently serving or has ever served in the Royal Navy, British Army or Royal Air Force and their families.

Announcing the decision to waive VAT on the Tower of London Poppies, the Chancellor George Osborne said:

Each one of these Poppies brought from their Derby factory to the Tower of London represents a British soldier who answered the call from their country a century ago and made the ultimate sacrifice.

Their sacrifice reminds us of the part played throughout recent times by our Armed Forces to preserve our security and freedom, and of the debt we owe them. It is therefore right that we use the fines from those who’ve demonstrated the worst of values to support those who demonstrate the best of values everyday.

The 888,246 fundraising poppies were made by ceramic artist Paul Cummins. Stage designer Tom Piper and Historic Royal Palaces have worked together to install the poppies in the moat of the Tower of London to commemorate British military fatalities during the First World War.

The Tower Poppies are being sold by Paul Cummins Ceramics Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red CIC with the support of Historic Royal Palaces.

All net proceeds plus a guaranteed 10% from every poppy sold will be shared equally amongst six service charities, continuing to support the families of the injured service personnel.

The government’s donation will be up to £1.1 million equivalent of the expected net sum of the VAT receipts collected on sales.

The VAT will be refunded in the form of a charitable donation.

Image by nonelvis on Flickr. Used under creative commons.