VAT BURN CAMPAIGN AIMS TO MAKE SUNSCREEN AFFORDABLE AND REDUCE INSTANCES OF SKIN CANCER
Strathkelvin and Bearsden MSP Rona Mackay has called on the UK government to remove VAT from sunscreen products of SPF 30 and above to tackle the rising number of skin cancer cases.
This comes following a debate in Holyrood sponsored by Jackie Dunbar MSP where MSPs threw their support behind East Dunbartonshire MP Amy Callaghan’s VAT Burn Campaign.
Ms Callaghan launched the VAT Burn Campaign late last year and has already received cross-party support in Westminster, as well as the backing of six major cancer charities.
Speaking after the debate, SNP MSP Ms Mackay called on UK counterparts to bring about this “common sense policy change”.
There are 16,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year across the UK, with 2,300 people dying. Of these cases, the majority are caused by exposure to the sun. As many as 90 percent of cases of melanoma could be prevented by staying safe in the sun, which includes using sunscreen of SPF 30 and above with a 4 star UVA protection rating.
The UK government has so far resisted changing VAT on sunscreen, pointing instead to other measures to stay safe in the sun, such as wearing a hat and staying in the shade.
Members of the public can find out more about the VAT Burn campaign by visiting: https://www.amycallaghan.scot/vat-burn
Ms Mackay said: “I fully support reforming VAT on sunscreen products. This would be a simple, effective way to encourage more people to stay safe in the sun, and of preventing cases of skin cancer.
“Melanoma is a horrendous disease that one in thirty-six men, and one in forty-seven women, will suffer in their lifetimes. It is also a life-threatening cancer, and almost always preventable.
“We know that around one in eight people are not wearing sunscreen because of the price, and fifty-seven percent said it was too expensive in general. This is something we, as politicians, have the power to change.
“That is why the UK government must step up and remove VAT from sunscreen, and in tandem run a public awareness campaign to promote the use of sunscreen. Not only could it save lives, but it could also help protect NHS budgets.”