Sunscreens: VAT

Treasury written question – answered on 9th November 2020.

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Photo of Shaun Bailey Shaun Bailey Conservative, West Bromwich West

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of re-classifying sun cream from a cosmetic product to an essential product for the purposes of VAT.

Photo of Jesse Norman Jesse Norman The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

VAT is a broad-based tax on supplies of goods and services, and exceptions are limited and set out in legislation. High-factor sunscreen is on the NHS prescription list for certain conditions and qualifies for a VAT zero rate when prescribed and dispensed by a pharmacist.

Making all sunscreen VAT-free would come at a considerable cost to the Exchequer. While all taxes are kept under review, there are currently no plans to reduce VAT on sunscreen products.

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