Lib Dems call for VAT on children’s toothpaste and toothbrushes to be scrapped

The Liberal Democrats have called for VAT on children’s toothbrushes and toothpaste to be scrapped, to lower A&E visits for tooth decay issues.

The Lib Dems said a freedom of information request showed 1,400 children went to A&E with tooth decay last year, amid NHS dentistry being pushed to the “brink of collapse”.

The party said the £30-million-a-year change to VAT could be brought in as part of an emergency health and care budget within four weeks of the General Election, which would set out measures to rescue local health and social care services.

Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey said: “It is appalling that so many children are ending up in hospital with rotting teeth because they can’t get the dental care they need.

“Years of Conservative underfunding and neglect have pushed NHS dentistry to the brink of collapse.

“The Liberal Democrats have an ambitious plan to tackle this crisis and make sure all families can access NHS dental care when they need it.

“We would scrap VAT on children’s toothpaste and toothbrushes, while guaranteeing NHS dentist appointments for children and new mothers.”

British Dental Association chairman Eddie Crouch said: “VAT has no place on healthcare essentials, whether it’s fluoride toothpaste or tampons.

“In all honesty, there is no justification for any age group paying extra for these essential oral health products.”