The Liberal Democrats will use £2.5 million from a fine imposed on a bank for rigging the Libor rate to investment into the North West Air Ambulance service.
This money could be used to buy additional equipment, provide 24/7 emergency, or upgrade helipads at hospitals – although it is up to local groups how they spend the cash.
The North West Air Ambulance currently operates three helicopters, all leased. They provide cover for 12.5hrs a day, during the summer months
Their annual report says: “We are acutely aware of the need to invest in the infrastructure of helipads throughout the region. Work is ongoing in this area, not only to initiate new helipads but to upgrade those that do not have the full facilities required to accommodate us in the future.”
It adds: “By 2016 we are committed to operating 24/7. If required we will increase our fleet of helicopters to ensure people get the help they need.” It also wants to move the bases from airports to hospitals in order “to take specialist resources to the patient as quickly as possible” and “get the patient to the right hospital at the right time, first time.”
The £2.5 million is part of wider Liberal Democrat plans to divide £50m, from the £227m fine levied on Deutsche Bank, equally between Britain’s 20 air ambulance trusts.
Air ambulances save hundreds of lives each year but rely almost solely on donations from the local community.
Liberal Democrat Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Cheadle constituency said:
“The North West Air Ambulance saves lives and helps the emergency services deal with some of the most difficult incidents, in some of the most hazardous conditions.
“This money will give our local air ambulance trust the power to improve the incredible service they already offer our community.
“This would not be possible without the Liberal Democrats and further illustrates our commitment to build a stronger economy and fairer society.”