The Great North Air Ambulance at the scene of a Lake District rescue. Photo: GNAAS

The Great North Air Ambulance at the scene of a Lake District rescue. Photo: GNAAS

A charity that runs an air ambulance in northern England faces having to find almost £1m for a new base after a blow revealed by the Chancellor of the Exchequer in his autumn statement.

The Great North Air Ambulance Service had applied for £1.9m from a fund generated from fines levied on banks’ malpractice.

But Philip Hammond announced in the Commons on Wednesday that the charity would receive just over half of the sum it requested for its new headquarters and centre of medical excellence.

The GNAAS’s helicopters are involved in numerous missions to airlift injured and ill outdoor enthusiasts from the hills and countryside of the Lake District, Yorkshire and the North-East each year.

The application for £1.9m was made to the Treasury, which controls the fund that holds fines imposed on banks for manipulating the Libor inter-bank lending rate. The Chancellor said the charity would get only £1m.

Philip Hammond made the announcement in his autumn statement. Photo: Ian Enness/Chatham House CC-BY-2.0

Philip Hammond made the announcement in his autumn statement. Photo: Ian Enness/Chatham House [CC-2.0]

Grahame Pickering, chief executive of GNAAS, said: “Our vision remains to create a new base and a centre of medical excellence for the benefit of people of the North.

“We had applied for £1.9m funding through the Treasury. This isn’t Government money, but a fund which was generated through fines imposed on banks for malpractice. The £1m we have been allocated is a welcome boost towards this project, though the £900,000 shortfall leaves us with some work to do to reach our target.

“It’s a shame that the decision leaves something of a question mark over a project which will ultimately save lives and ease suffering of patients, young and old.

“However, we are well accustomed to overcoming such hurdles and will be re-examining our contingency options to determine how best to make our dream become a reality.”

The charity’s board of trustees will meet on Friday to assess the options available and a further announcement will be made in due course.

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