A high-profile campaign has recently launched to abolish VAT on all safety products and services that go into UK homes.
The Government is being urged to scrap the 20% tax on a range of products including fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, gas safety checks, fire doors and fire extinguishers.
A launch event took place in Parliament on January 31, including an online petition to have the issue debated in Parliament: www.petition.parliament.uk/petitions/209347
The Axe Safety Tax campaign is backed by a number of MPs including Emma Dent Coad, the MP for Kensington, whose constituency includes Grenfell Tower.
She said: “It is a total disgrace that safety products are taxed as if they are luxury items. VAT must be reduced so that everyone can afford to buy them and be safe in their homes. It’s a no-brainer.”
Celebrities including former England footballers Jamie Carragher and Robbie Fowler, the musician Midge Ure and TV personality Paddy McGuinness have also put their names to the initiative.
Mike Amesbury, MP for Weaver Vale & Member of the Communities and Local Government Select Committee, said: “Safety is rightly at the top of the political agenda. It is ridiculous that tax is charged on safety products and services. Removing the VAT will make them more affordable and save more lives. It’s the right thing to do.”
The gas safety technology company, Gas Tag, is behind the campaign. The company’s CEO Paul Durose said: “At a time when safety is in the spotlight, raising money in taxation from making homes safer is shameful and not a reflection of the compassionate society in which we live.”
Several leading housing associations are also backing the campaign. The VAT raised annually on safety products and inspections across the social housing sector is in excess of £200million.
Tom Dacey, Group Chief Executive at Southern Housing Group, said: “As landlords, we not only have a legal obligation to keep people safe but also a moral one. The fact that safety is taxed at the maximum rate is unjustifiable. We’re backing the Axe Safety Tax campaign and we’re asking other housing associations and councils to give their backing and support it too.”
The Axe Safety Tax campaign will be officially launched at a round table discussion in the House of Commons this Wednesday morning, attended by MPs, Chief Executives of Housing Associations along with Mike Cunningham, Deputy Director, VAT & Excise.