Skin cancer charity calls for sunscreen tax to be cut so British children are protected in summer 

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Skin cancer charity calls for sunscreen tax to be cut so British children are protected during summer

  • Melanoma Focus found two-thirds would wear more sun cream if 20% cheaper
  • Calling for VAT cut as those on lowest incomes are less likely to wear sunscreen

VAT should be slashed on sunscreen to protect people from skin cancer, according to a charity.

Charity Melanoma Focus commissioned a survey of 2,003 people on sunscreen, finding half think it is too expensive and around two-thirds would wear more sun cream if it were 20 per cent cheaper.

Some 10 per cent of people said they don’t use sunscreen at all due to the cost.

The survey showed 87 per cent of people regularly put sunscreen on their children in the summer, but among those who did not, 12 per cent said that is because it is too expensive.

Melanoma Focus is calling on the Government to remove the VAT for high-factor sunscreens, stating that people on the very lowest incomes are less likely to wear sunscreen than any other economic group.

VAT should be slashed on sunscreen to protect people from skin cancer, according to charity Melanoma Focus. (file image)

VAT should be slashed on sunscreen to protect people from skin cancer, according to charity Melanoma Focus. (file image)

Susanna Daniels, chief executive of Melanoma Focus, said: 'Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the deadliest form of skin cancer.' (file image of a woman with Melanoma moles and freckles)

Susanna Daniels, chief executive of Melanoma Focus, said: ‘Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the deadliest form of skin cancer.’ (file image of a woman with Melanoma moles and freckles)

Susanna Daniels, chief executive of Melanoma Focus, said: ‘Melanoma is the fifth most common cancer in the UK and the deadliest form of skin cancer – 86 per cent of melanomas are preventable and, therefore, wearing a high SPF sunscreen is a hugely important safety measure for protecting against it.

‘We know that people are experiencing increasing pressures on their finances at the moment but, with skin cancer rates on the rise, the use of sunscreen should be a high priority.

‘The Government could help make skin protection more accessible to all, regardless of income level, by removing VAT from high-factor sunscreens.’

People often avoid sunscreen for reasons including wanting to get a tan, believing they won’t burn, or finding the product too messy, the survey found.

Since the early 1990s, rates of melanoma have more than doubled in the UK, with the rise in popularity of foreign holidays in hot countries thought to be part of the reason.

In women, the most common location for melanoma skin cancer is the legs, while in men it is most likely to occur on the central part of their body.

The call for sunscreen to be made cheaper has been backed by Michelle Richardson, 49, from Petersfield, Hampshire, who has stage 4 melanoma, which has spread to areas including her spine, lungs and brain, but is currently in remission.

She said: ‘Sunscreen shouldn’t be a luxury product.

The survey showed 87 per cent of people regularly put sunscreen on their children in the summer, but among those who did not, 12 per cent said that is because it is too expensive. (file image)

The survey showed 87 per cent of people regularly put sunscreen on their children in the summer, but among those who did not, 12 per cent said that is because it is too expensive. (file image)

‘It’s essential for protecting the health of the nation so I’m fully supportive of the proposed cut to VAT.’

A Government spokesman said: ‘We recognise the impact that rising prices are having at home which is why we are providing significant support worth on average £3,300 per household.

‘This includes holding down energy bills, uplifting benefits and delivering direct cash payments.

‘High-factor sunscreen is on the NHS prescription list for certain conditions and is already provided VAT-free when dispensed by a pharmacist to these patients.’



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