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Maggie backs call for VAT reform on sunscreen products

Maggie Throup, Member of Parliament for Erewash and former Public Health Minister has called on the UK Government to remove VAT from sunscreen products of SPF 30 and above in a parliamentary debate.

There are 16,000 new cases of melanoma diagnosed each year across the UK, with 2,300 people dying. Of these cases, the majority are caused by exposure to the sun. As many as 90 percent of cases of melanoma could be prevented by staying safe in the sun, which includes using sunscreen of SPF 30 and above with a 4 star UVA protection rating. 

Maggie commented:

“In 2019, I noticed a blemish on my left arm and so, knowing that both my parents had had benign skin cancer, I decided to get myself checked out. After a biopsy, my ‘blemish’ was diagnosed as melanoma, and I underwent surgery to remove the cancer.

“I was one of the lucky ones and I was cured of this cancer in 2020. The outcome could have been very different, had I not been aware of what signs to look out for and caught the cancer early.

“That is why the UK Government must step up and remove VAT from sunscreen, and in tandem run a public awareness campaign to promote the use of sunscreen. Not only could it save lives, but it could also help protect NHS budgets.”

Maggie added:

“86 per cent of melanomas are preventable by adopting simple sun protection measures. We should be taking the same preventive measures during the hot summer months here that we would if we were on holiday abroad. As well as applying sunscreen, that includes seeking shade, wearing a hat and loose clothing, and keeping out of the sun when it is most prevalent. 

“Only by a combination of these action will we then see a noticeable decline in melanoma cases, that at the moment take far too many lives.”

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