If VAT was not charged on community defibrillators then every sixth machine would be free.
That’s the position taken by Colne Valley Labour MP Thelma Walker as she begins a campaign to scrap the charges.
She has even written to Chancellor Philip Hammond urging him to back her proposal to get 20% VAT removed from the purchase value of defibrillators and the cabinets that house them.
Mrs Walker launched her campaign to scrap VAT on community-bought defibrillators after meeting volunteer community first responder, Bill O’Brien, from Holmfirth.
She said: “I was surprised when Bill told me that they had to pay VAT on defibrillators that the community bought and thought this isn’t right, something needs to be done about this.
“With over 30,000 people suffering from cardiac arrest each year, outside of a hospital environment it is vital that we all have access to this potentially life-saving equipment.”
Mrs Walker has tabled an Early Day Motion to the House of Commons that states:
* That this House notes that VAT of 20% is charged on community public access defibrillators and the secure cabinet in which they are housed;
* Further notes that more than 30,000 people a year have a cardiac arrest in a non-hospital location;
* Observes that from cardiac arrest there is on average five minutes to save a life;
* Notes the chance of survival after the heart stops falls by around 10% for every minute that passes without defibrillation;
* Recommends that every community should have a community public access defibrillator in an easily accessible location;
* Points out that if VAT were removed from community defibrillators then every sixth machine would be free;
* Congratulates the communities who fundraise for these vital pieces of life-saving equipment;
* Urges the Government to remove VAT from community public access defibrillators and their cabinets.
She added: “As well as tabling the EDM, I have asked a written question to the Chancellor to ask him what consideration his department has given to removing VAT from community purchased defibrillators.
“I hope that the Chancellor agrees with what I am proposing, and we will see an announcement in the budget in November. If not I will look into tabling an amendment to his budget. This isn’t about party politics but about saving lives.”
Mr O’Brien gave his support to the campaign and commented: “These pieces of equipment are vital in providing early intervention and increasing the chances of survival following an out of hospital cardiac arrest.
“They have no other purpose than to save lives.
“If we can get this through then for every five defibrillators we buy now in the future we could have a sixth one free.”