Widower’s £2.3m gift to Royal Marsden cancer hospital hit with huge VAT bill

08:22 08 June 2012

Jimmy Thomas with his wife Alma, in whose memory Mr Thomas donated £2.3 million to the Royal Marsden cancer centre

Jimmy Thomas with his wife Alma, in whose memory Mr Thomas donated £2.3 million to the Royal Marsden cancer centre

A wealthy widower has blasted the decision to bill him £460,000 for VAT after he donated more than £2 million to a London cancer hospital in memory of his wife.

Jimmy Thomas, aged 78, gave £2.3m for the refurbishment of the Ellis Ward at the Royal Marsden cancer centre in Chelsea.

Mr Thomas, who made millions of pounds through a bingo hall empire across the East Midlands, described the VAT costs as “criminal” and called for a change in the law to ensure hospitals are exempt from the tax

The Conservative party donor has raised his concerns with the Prime Minister.

Mr Thomas said: “The fact that a world-leading hospital, at the very pinnacle of treatment excellence, should be slammed with a VAT bill just to improve facilities for essential NHS care is criminal. The law must be changed.

“The ward - which had 18 NHS beds and two private rooms - needed so much work to provide the comfort and dignity the patients so badly required, the refurbishment work was classed as a rebuild. And under the law, a rebuild is subject to VAT at 20 per cent.

“I have sat next to David Cameron at lunch and explained this atrocious state of affairs. So far, there has been no response and frankly I am tired of waiting.

“He vowed he would not take money from the sick and vulnerable to fill the financial black hole, and that’s exactly what he continues to do.”

A Revenue and Customs spokesman said: “Both building and refurbishment works are subject to VAT. This is the case for hospitals as with other types of building.

“VAT will be payable on such works, whether they are funded by government or through donation.

“The tax system provides a range of very generous tax reliefs to support charitable giving. Gift Aid alone adds around £1 billion annually to charity coffers.”

Mr Thomas donated the cash in tribute to his wife Alma, who was treated at the hospital before she lost her fight with ovarian cancer in 2008.

Now Mr Thomas, the co-founder of the Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, says he hopes to raise the £460,000 needed to meet the cost of the VAT bill through a fundraising trust he has set up for the Royal Marsden.

Latest Stories

5 minutes ago
The men were arrested after crashing into two other cars in Station Approach outside West Drayton train station (Picture: Google Streetview)

Three people including a 15-year-old boy have been arrested by police after a high-speed chase in west London ended with a multi-0vehicle crash at West Drayton train station last night.

Read more
Yesterday, 19:19
The case is being heard at the Old Bailey (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

A former public school boy accused of sexually assaulting an ex-classmate after a boozy night out told jurors that their encounter was “definitely consensual”.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:15
Myles Lovell saved the lives of two people - and now wants to know how they are doing [Picture by St John's Ambulance]

A man who saved the lives of two people after their car flipped over is appealing for them to get in touch.

Read more

TOP Stories

5 minutes ago
The men were arrested after crashing into two other cars in Station Approach outside West Drayton train station (Picture: Google Streetview)

Three people including a 15-year-old boy have been arrested by police after a high-speed chase in west London ended with a multi-0vehicle crash at West Drayton train station last night.

Yesterday, 19:19
The case is being heard at the Old Bailey (Photo by Bruno Vincent/Getty Images)

A former public school boy accused of sexually assaulting an ex-classmate after a boozy night out told jurors that their encounter was “definitely consensual”.

Yesterday, 18:15
Myles Lovell saved the lives of two people - and now wants to know how they are doing [Picture by St John's Ambulance]

A man who saved the lives of two people after their car flipped over is appealing for them to get in touch.

Promotions

Advanced running and training technology for beginners up to elite athletes

If you’re thinking of adding running treadmill to your fitness routine, you’re on the right track! There are several advantages to running on a treadmill versus running outdoors.

Renault-Zoe

The Renault ZOE follows on from the introduction of the electric Fluence ZE and Twizy, but unlike the former, the ZOE was designed from the ground up as an electric vehicle.

When no simple way to find Real Ale was at hand, 4 Ale enthusiasts got together to allow anyone with a smart phone to find Real Ale no matter where they happened to be, this was the birth of the Perfect Pint app.

London Bloggers

Mon, 17:16
Do you really need an explanation for that?! (Pic by Serena Marinelli)

If you’ve ever seen an Italian movie, you would probably know how important body language is in the culture.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Don't waste any of your harvest

If you are now inundated with ripe tomatoes, juicy green beans, berries and herbs, don’t leave them to go stringy or mouldy because the freezer can go a long way to making your crops last well into winter.

Friday, August 22, 2014
It turns out painting is the perfect thing to do in bars

I’m somewhat of a casual, lazy and very much amateur painter and after a busy day at work, the prospect of getting all my brushes, acrylics, water and other faff out is far from appealing.

Quizzes

Can you guess which bridge crossing the Thames in London which? (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Do you know your Blackfriars from your Southwark, Cannon Street from Waterloo, or do all of London’s bridges look alike to you?

Read more
Amy Winehouse's second album became a classic

Are you an Amy Winehouse superfan?

Read more
I'm only going to say this once: Stand. On. The. Right.

James Bond is Britain’s most famous secret agent, and the capital is its most famous city, so it makes sense that 007 would live and work here when he isn’t gallivanting around the world.

Read more