Government extends suspension of VAT on PPE

The government has extended its measure to scrap VAT on personal protective equipment (PPE) until the autumnThe government has extended its measure to scrap VAT on personal protective equipment (PPE) until the autumn. 

Dental practices will not pay VAT on PPE until 31 October following a newly-announced three-month extension.

Originally, the measure was set to expire at the end of July after it was temporarily zero-rated at the start of May. This was implemented alongside the removal of import duty.

The extension is predicted to save care homes and businesses around £155 million.

Needed protection

‘Extending the zero VAT rate on PPE will provide the relief needed by care homes in particular, so that as many people as possible continue to be protected against the coronavirus,’ said financial secretary to the treasury, Jesse Norman.

EU law – which the UK is governed by until the end of the transition period – requires the UK to keep VAT on PPE.

However, it is currently acting on an exceptional circumstances basis allowed by EU rules in the case of a heath emergency. And the European Commission backed member states in their introduction of temporary VAT relief to alleviate the impact of COVID-19.

‘Unreliable’ temperature screening

This comes as the government warns of ‘unreliable’ temperature screening methods.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said there is a lack of evidence to suggest temperature screening successfully detects COVID-19.

It is ordering manufacturers of thermal cameras to avoid claims their products are directly linked to the virus’ diagnosis.

‘Many thermal cameras and temperature screening products were originally designed for non-medical purposes. For example, for building or site security,’ said Graeme Tunbridge, the director of devices at MHRA.

‘Businesses and organisations need to know that using these products for temperature screening could put people’s health at risk.

‘These products should only be used in line with the manufacturer’s original intended use. They should not be used to screen people for COVID-19 symptoms.’

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