Scrap VAT on suncream to help fight skin cancer

Jo Swinson speaking in the House of Commons

The Prime Minister made no specific pledges but said the situation would be kept under review

Jo Swinson has called on the Prime Minister to scrap VAT on suncream because of surging skin cancer rates.

Speaking to Gordon Brown at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons today, Jo said:

“The most rapidly increasing type of cancer in this country is skin cancer, with more than 80,000 new cases each year. As the Prime Minister heads to Suffolk for his bucket and spade holiday I am sure he will be stocking up on suncream, so how can his government justify charging VAT on this essential health protection item?”

Commenting later, she said:

“Though we like to joke about the British weather, people need to be aware of the risk of skin cancer due to sun exposure whether taking summer holidays in the UK or abroad.

“With skin cancer rates on a rapid and worrying upward trend, the need to help people protect themselves from the sun is greater than ever. The Government charges the full rate of VAT on suncream as though it were a luxury item, but with the need to guard against skin cancer so vital, this is clearly a health issue. Suncream is a health protection product that should be exempt from VAT.

“A VAT exemption on suncream would also help families in East Dunbartonshire who are being hit by rising inflation. Parents and children should not have to sacrifice protection from the harmful effects of the sun because of the burden of increasing household costs.

“I am disappointed that the Prime Minister did not agree to look in more detail at how he could help hard-pressed families with this VAT cut.”

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