Protective Clothing: VAT

Treasury written question – answered at on 20 October 2023.

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Photo of Greg Knight Greg Knight Conservative, East Yorkshire

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, if he will make an assessment of the potential merits of removing VAT on motorcycle air vests to help increase their usage.

Photo of Victoria Atkins Victoria Atkins The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Whilst there are currently no plans to remove VAT on motorcycle air vests, the Government remains committed to ensuring the safety of motorcyclists. For example, motorcycle helmets, which satisfy the requirements of regulation 8(2) of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002, are zero-rated for VAT. Further information can be found here: Protective equipment (VAT Notice 701/23) - GOV.UK (

VAT has been designed as a broad-based tax on consumption, and the twenty per cent standard rate applies to the vast majority of goods and services, including motorcycle air vests. While there are exceptions to the standard rate, these have always been strictly limited by both legal and fiscal considerations.

VAT is the UK’s third largest tax forecast to raise £161 billion in 2023/24, helping to fund key spending priorities such as important public services, including the NHS, education and defence. In addition, this request should be viewed in the context of over £50 billion of requests for relief from VAT received since the EU referendum.

The Government keeps all taxes under review.

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