Dentists are calling for a permanent VAT exemption on personal protective equipment (PPE) to help healthcare settings fight COVID-19.
Kicked off by James Goolnik, a petition has been launched calling on the government to scrap VAT on PPE, including gloves, masks and aprons.
Earlier this year, a temporary exemption was introduced by the government in a bid to ease financial pressure on healthcare providers.
But this measure expired at the end of October, meaning dental teams are now eligible to pay the tax.
Protection for staff and patients
So far, more than 2,800 people have signed the petition urging the government to permanently scrap VAT on PPE.
‘As you may know the government has reintroduced the VAT on personal protective equipment (PPE) from 1 November,’ said Dr Goolnik.
‘PPE has become even more essential since COVID. Whether this is gloves, masks, visors, aprons, gowns or eye protection; they create a barrier for the wearer between blood, bodily fluids, or respiratory secretions.
‘Dental teams require personal protective equipment to protect ourselves and others. Health services, including private services, are generally exempt from VAT. I believe PPE used in healthcare should be treated in the same way.’
He added: ‘Dental practices cannot claim back the VAT so this is a real business expense. Along with the hike in prices of all PPE since the change in demand.
‘The price of a box of masks has risen by 300%. Dental practices are struggling to keep dental care affordable for all.
‘We will have to coexist with many more viruses to come, and the burden of PPE to dental teams is not likely to reduce any time soon. Taking the VAT off these lifesaving items will make it more financially viable going forward.’
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