Chancellor urged to 'give gift of life' by scrapping defibrillator VAT

An SNP MP said removing the levy could develop a more effective network of defibrillators across the country

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt urged to ‘give gift of life’ by scrapping defibrillator VAT by SNP MP iStock

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt is being urged to “give the gift of life this Christmas” by scrapping VAT charges on defibrillators.

SNP MSP Jenni Minto made the plea, saying removing the levy could help develop a more effective network of defibrillators across the country – and save lives.

She told Hunt that the UK Government should follow the lead of the Irish Government, after ministers in Dublin announced they would be removing VAT on the devices in September.

Minto, the MSP for Argyll and Bute, said: “Jeremy Hunt should show some goodwill at Christmas by scrapping VAT on defibrillators and make it easier and cheaper for us to build an effective defib network across the country.

“Making sure we have defibrillators in more easily accessible places means anyone suffering from an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest has a greater chance of survival.

“In my constituency of Argyll and Bute, there has been incredible work to fundraise for defibrillators and ensure we have coverage across the area.

“However, those involved in the effort have told me they would have been able to buy a lot more if defibrillators were not subject to VAT.

“The Irish Government has recently scrapped VAT on defibs and there is no reason why the UK Government cannot make the same move. Other pieces of medical equipment are exempt and defibrillators should be, too.

“That is why I am urging Jeremy Hunt to give the gift of life this Christmas by scrapping the tax and saving lives.”

A UK Government spokesperson said: “We take the safety of the public seriously and provide several VAT reliefs to help organisations buy defibrillators and other first aid equipment, and we are continuing to look too at ways to further expand public access to these life-saving devices.”

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