The government must immediately suspend VAT duties payable by care homes for safety equipment during the pandemic, says UNISON today (Tuesday).
Care providers, some of whom are struggling with the financial pressures of the outbreak, are being charged VAT for personal protective equipment (PPE) such as masks and gloves needed to keep the workforce safe. This is driving up costs and doesn’t apply to the NHS or to people buying PPE for their own personal use, says UNISON.
The union is also calling on the government to clamp down on PPE profiteering to stop some firms inflating prices for life-saving kit.
UNISON general secretary Dave Prentis said: “No social care employer should be paying VAT for what has clearly become essential equipment.
“This is a national emergency. The virus is tearing through care homes and everything possible must be done to stop it. That means cutting the costs of PPE from today.
“Care workers are worried sick about the people they look after and also fear for their own health. Suspending VAT immediately for the duration of the crisis will make a huge difference.
“The government must also send a clear directive to suppliers and retailers not to hike the cost of life-saving safety equipment. No one should be trying to make a quick buck from people’s desperation to stay well during the pandemic.”