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.

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Thursday, February 4, 2016
Boris Johnson has today unveiled plans for the two giant traffic-busting tunnels (Picture: PA Images)

Fed up with the traffic en route to work? Boris Johnson may have the answer. The London mayor has just unveiled plans for two huge tunnels which would run under London and make commuting easier.

Monday, January 25, 2016
A new artwork by Banksy, depicting the girl from Les Misérables affected by tear gas, opposite the French embassy in Knightsbridge, London (Yui Mok/PA Wire)

New artwork by Banksy criticising the use of teargas in The Jungle refugee camp in Calais has appeared on a wall opposite the French Embassy in London.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Young man tweeting on mobile phone

A survey analysed tweets from across the capital between December 15 and January 14

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
Junior doctors will be on strike today

Next week’s junior doctors strike has been cancelled as progress is made in negotiations.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016
February 2015... three Bethnal Green girls at Gatwick heading for Syria

A new website giving parents and teachers advice on protecting children from extremism is being launched at Bethnal Green Academy in east London - where three pupils are thought to have fled to Syria.

Monday, January 11, 2016
Seven months pregnant Tulip Siddiq was allegedly told she was

Heavily pregnant Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq was admonished for breaking Parliamentary procedure by leaving a debate to eat, it has been claimed.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Sony Smart Ultra HD 55'' LED TV

Enjoy the ultimate entertainment experience in your living room with the Sony Smart Ultra 55’’ LED TV. Be the envy of all your friends with this huge TV- you can change your living room into your own cinema! Get the boys around to watch the football or get the girls around to watch the DVD of 50 Shades.. this is a prize that everyone would enjoy! Stand a chance to upgrade your current entertainment system by wining this fantastic prize.

Read more
Surface Pro 4

Technology is ever evolving. We are constantly being shown new technology that is innovative, revolutionary and designed to make life easier for us all. Gone are the days of dial up modems and computers so large you needed half a room to store it. We are in the age of smooth, small and sleek. Companies are all trying their best to create technology that is easy to transport and guaranteed to be user friendly.

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport