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Calling for VAT to Be Scrapped on Sunscreen SVG 55x55-Pharmacy VAT icon - Suncream-51.svg

You can also sign our petition...

To help make our campaign a reality, you can also sign our petition to the government by clicking the link below.

Sign the Petition

More about our campaign...

Sunscreen is currently classified in the UK as a “cosmetic product”. However, Cancer Research UK state that getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer, and that melanoma skin cancer incidence rates have more than doubled (135%) in the UK since the early 1990s. 

Therefore we've written to the government asking for sunscreen to be reclassified as an essential healthcare item, which would allow it to be VAT exempt. The average bottle of sunscreen costs £5-£7, with around £1.50 of this being the VAT charge applied. It’s time for a change and we need your support.

Removing VAT from these essential items will, therefore, play a significant part in making sunscreen more affordable and encouraging more people to protect themselves from the potentially harmful effects of too much sun.

In order to help reduce the costs for customers now, we've cut the price of sunscreen, available at Co-op Pharmacy online and in our Co-op Food stores, by 20% - effectively paying the VAT for customers. We are also asking everyone to help raise awareness of this issue and encourage the government to take action by signing a petition and writing to their MP.

Dr. Hilary Jones

We've has enlisted the support of GP and TV medic Dr Hilary Jones to help make the case for action. Dr Jones said: “Sunscreen is a really important medical product that prevents against the risk of skin cancer. I fully support the Co-op Midcounties campaign and it’s important that we get Ministers interested in removing VAT from sunscreen. There is a wide consensus of doctors, skin specialists, dermatologists and cancer specialists who would agree that sunscreen should be reclassified as a healthcare product.

Our CEO, Phil Ponsonby

Our Chief Executive Phil Ponsonby said: “Sunscreen is an essential healthcare product and we don’t think it’s right or fair that it should incur VAT. We need to do everything we can to make it as affordable as possible, and we’re therefore asking people to join our campaign, write to their MP and make a change that will help to reduce the risk of skin cancer for everyone.