Why should the Government exempt factor 30+ sunscreen from VAT?
86% of cases of melanoma skin cancer can be prevented by adopting simple sun protection measures such as using factor 30+ sunscreen.
There are more than 16,000 cases in the UK each year and rates are increasing-we need to do more to prevent cases of melanoma.
67% of people find the cost of sunscreen high and would use it more if it was 20% cheaper.
1 in 10 people are not using sunscreen because it is too expensive.
Factor 30+ sunscreen should be viewed as an essential healthcare item and not as a luxury cosmetic.
High factor sunscreens that are marketed as sunscreens can already be exempt from VAT-style taxes in Australia and several states in the US, making them more affordable
We are asking the Government to make this policy change alongside a national awareness campaign about sun protection. With the impact of climate change meaning increasing temperatures in the UK, this measure is becoming increasingly urgent.
On Tuesday 28th November 2023 we handed in an open letter from patients, doctors, nurses, charities and MPs to the Government to call on them to abolish VAT on factor 30+ sunscreen to make it more affordable and reduce cases of skin cancer. We joined Amy Callaghan, MP with Lucy Davis, Patient Representative, Michelle Baker, CEO Melanoma Fund and Steven Bonnar, MP. The letter was signed and supported by 62 MPs, 143 skin cancer patients, 85 health care professionals, and 163 supporters along with SKCIN, MASScott, Teenage Cancer Trust and Young Lives vs Cancer.
Our CEO Susanna Daniels said:
“Skin cancers like melanoma can be deadly, but they are largely preventable. The VAT Burn campaign has developed because sunscreen is an important weapon in the fight against melanoma and other forms of skin cancer but many people are struggling to afford this vital product.”
The Government needs to take action and help us reduce the rising number of skin cancer deaths in the UK. Melanoma Focus have now commissioned economic research which will help continue drive this campaign.
How you can get involved:
Write to your MP to ask them to support the #VATBurn campaign.
We know that sunscreen is an essential healthcare item and can save lives, however, it is classed as a luxury item and VAT is added to the cost making it too expensive for many people. We’re joining with charities, cross-party politicians, patients and clinicians to ask the Government to remove VAT from factor 30+ sunscreen to make it more affordable for everyone – and we need your help.
Please write to your MP to ask them to support this important campaign. There are 3 steps you need to take:
- Find out who your MP is and their email address by putting your postcode into this website: Find your MP – MPs and Lords – UK Parliament
- Copy the below text into an email to your MP and personalise the email with their name, your address (so they know you are a constituent) and with any more information about why you support the campaign.
- Send the email and, if your MP responds, please forward their response to email@example.com
Email to your MP:
Dear [name] MP,
I am one of your constituents, living at [add your address], and would be grateful if you could support the #VATBurn campaign which asks the Government to remove VAT from factor 30+ sunscreen. This will make sunscreen more affordable, encourage people to use it more and prevent many cases of skin cancer across the UK.
As you may know, every year, more than 17,000 people across the UK are diagnosed with melanoma, and it takes the lives of 2,300 people. However, 86% of these cases are preventable if simple sun protection measures, including using factor 30+ sunscreen, are taken. In the past 25 years, skin cancer rates in the UK more than doubled and, unless the Government improves measures to prevent melanomas, this upwards trajectory will continue.
[Add optional personal paragraph: This campaign is important to me because….]
With the current cost of living crisis, cost is likely to deter increasing numbers of people from buying sunscreen. Independent polling conducted in early 2023 showed that half of people in the UK think sunscreen is too expensive and 10% don’t use it at all because of the cost. The research found that 67% of all respondents would use it more if it was 20% cheaper. If more people use sunscreen properly, we will save lives and prevent many of these cases. As my representative in Parliament, I would be grateful if you could let me know if you are happy to support this campaign.
[Your name and address]