Scrapping VAT from sun protection products ‘can save lives’, SNP MP says

People are “being priced out of buying sunscreen” an SNP MP has warned, as she called on the Government to exempt sun protection products from VAT.

SNP Amy Callaghan told MPs she had a “deeply personal interest in the area in which I’m trying to legislate”.

Her Sun Protection Products (Value Added Tax) Bill was, she said, a “tiny sacrifice on VAT revenue which can save lives and money down the line”, adding “0.03% of VAT income is not worth the human cost of melanoma”.

She said: “If sunscreen products are more affordable, then our constituents would be more likely to buy them, use them and protect their skin. We know from market research that our constituents and families across our constituencies are being priced out of buying sunscreen products.”

She added: “Less than half a percent of revenue generated by the Treasury from value added tax (VAT) comes from sunscreen products – £40 million out of £256 billion.”

She went on: “I would caution the Government not to ignore the serious risk skin cancer poses, but I ask them to consider whether they want to go down the dangerous path of ignoring the voice of survivors, particularly when the survivors are members of this House.

“It’s life-threatening, it’s not something to belittle and the UK Government should and could be leading the way on this.”

The MP for East Dunbartonshire said it “should be uncontroversial to state that these products must be made as accessible and as affordable as possible”.

Approximately 16,000 people a year are diagnosed with melanoma, she said, adding “every year it kills 2,300 people across the UK, making it the fifth most common cancer”.

The Bill is listed for a second reading on Friday, March 24, but is unlikely to become law due to a lack of parliamentary time.