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 from SNAP.PA

Frankie Bridge may not have lifted the glitterball trophy, but she’s living the dream – both on and off the dancefloor.

Read more

TV presenter Caroline Flack jumped for joy as she and Pasha Kovalev lifted the glitterball trophy after becoming ballroom victors.

Read more

It’s 30 years since the film came out and it’s still utterly watchable, even for the cast.

Read more

Promoted content

We've got a great selection of Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers for under a tenner...  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Office Secret Santa: it’s a Christmas ritual that everyone dreads, but no-one wants to seem like a Scrooge by saying no. Never fear, London24 is here to make buying gifts for Dave in Accounts simple and stress-free, with a selection of presents for under a tenner

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

And they have a role to play in saving their species.

Twinkle, twinkle you little stars – thanks for making your homes so festive.

Offers for university places are at a record high.

TOP Stories

Fri, 17:24
Fabric club in Charterhouse Street

Clubbers across the globe are breathing a sigh of relief now that Farringdon superclub Fabric has been allowed to stay open.

Fri, 17:31
The three teenagers were found guilty of killing Paul Thrower with an axe at a block of flats in Hayes (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Three 18-year-olds have been jailed for their part in a “wicked and unnecessary” axe and knife attack reminiscent of The Shining. An unnamed 17-year-old was cleared of involvement.

Fri, 12:40
The Met have released images of 12 people wanted over burglaries and violent offences (Picture: Metropolitan Police)

Images of 12 of London’s most wanted have been released by the Met as it launches a Christmas crackdown on evasive suspects.

London Bloggers

Thursday, November 27, 2014
The main room at the Museum of Comedy (Pic: Steve Ullathorne)

This week I visited the Museum of Comedy located at the corner of Museum Street and Bloomsbury Way in the crypt under St George’s Church.

Thursday, November 27, 2014
Bird Lovegod

I genuinely and honestly have only a slight problem when it comes to buying domain names.

Friday, November 14, 2014
Bird says back up your data

What happened after a friend of mine lost basically everything he’d created in the last 5 years: