'Oh, so that's who Richard Morris is..." Lord Hattersley on The Daily Politics

'An influential activist' - The Guardian

'Iain Dale, without the self loathing' - Matthew Fox in The New Statesman

You are a tinker...' - Tim Farron

Friday, 26 August 2011

Tim Farron has just made my holidays safer.

One of the reasons I enjoy following Tim Farron on Twitter is that when he lists where he's been on his constituency tours, it reads like my holidays all rolled in to one. Grasmere, Ambleside, Troutbeck...all conjure up happy memories.

I go to the Lakes most years, and apart from the posters advertising where Tim is due to meet residents - the shop in Chapel Stile and the Britannia Inn in Elterwater are frequent favourites - one of the most common sights are the collection boxes and appeals from the local mountain rescue teams for donations. Because all the work they have done until now is voluntary and all their equipment is bought from what they can collect. Until now.

Because Lib Dem MP's like Tim have been campaigning for funding for the teams and earlier this month Danny Alexander announced that the government is giving an annual grant of £200000 to Mountain Rescue teams across the UK. And I think that's brilliant.

When I'm stumbling around on the top of a mountain with three kids, vaguely wondering if we shouldn't have set off a little earlier, it's a huge comfort to know that if anything did go pear shaped, there's someone there to help. And now the presence of that help is a little more secure.

However, there is lots more to do.

The grant will cover about 10% of the annual running costs of a team - £2500 out of an average budget of £25000. so the collecting and campaigning will go on.

And next step should be a change in EU law to allow teams to reclaim VAT on equipment that they buy. Currently the emergency services bar mountain rescue can do this, which seems like an anomaly that needs fixing. (I wonder if the RNLI, another charity, is in the same boat, no pun intended).

But meantime, this is a huge step in the right direction.

1 comment:

  1. Ha ha, yes, I know, I misspelt Tim's name in the title earlier...typing on an i phone on a train, big thumbs blah blah blah! sorry......