Scrap the Heart Tax campaign reacts as Chancellor fails to act on costly defib tax

The British Health Trades Association’s (BHTA) Scrap the Heart Tax campaign is disheartened to hear that the Chancellor has failed to remove the Value Added Tax (VAT) on defibrillator purchases in the 2024 Spring Budget. Over the past year, the BHTA has been campaigning to remove VAT from all defibrillator sales to render them affordable for small businesses and community groups. The campaign remains ready to work with the Government to increase access to these essential devices and help save more lives.

The current survival rate for out-of-hospital cardiac arrests stands at a mere 8%, which increases to an impressive 70% when a defibrillator is administered within the first crucial minutes. The average distance from a defibrillator in the UK currently exceeds 700 meters – about a 20 minute walk there and back – which impedes swift intervention during emergencies. This highlights the critical need for widespread availability of defibrillators.

The Scrap the Heart Restart Tax campaign is being championed by 19-year-old Jack Hurley, an aspiring football player who was saved with a defibrillator following a sudden cardiac arrest on the pitch last July. Together, Jack and the campaign have launched a petition calling on the removal of VAT on all defibrillator sales, which has so far collated nearly 80,000 signatures. Prior to this the campaign circulated a letter to the Chancellor, signed by over 100 parliamentarians, calling on him to act to save more lives.

The BHTA and Heart Tax campaign will continue to campaign for this important issue, asking the government to remove this financial hurdle in order to make defibrillators more accessible to communities nationwide.

David Stockdale, CEO at the BHTA, says:

“We’re very disappointed that the UK government is choosing not to remove the VAT on defibrillators. The extra costs this tax creates is a financial barrier that often stops local communities from being able to afford such a vital piece of equipment. Having a defibrillator close by for quick access is fundamental to saving lives, and the Heart Tax campaign will continue its call to make these essential pieces of kit more affordable to improve their access”


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