Axe Safety Tax campaign could have saved councils millions on Grenfell safety measures

A campaign to scrap VAT on safety products in the home could have made a huge difference to councils in the year since Grenfell.

New figures show that London councils have spent almost £100million on safety measures in the 12 months since the tragedy.

Some councils have been forced to delay refurbishing accommodation in order to pay for the fire safety work such as fire doors and other products and services.

Examples include Kensington and Chelsea which has spent £4.6million on fire safety improvement work, while Croydon is paying £10million to retrofit sprinkler systems in high rise blocks.

Only cladding replacement work is being funded by Government.

The Axe Safety Tax campaign was launched earlier this year to scrap the 20 per cent tax on a range of products and services including fire alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, gas safety checks, fire doors and fire extinguishers.

Singer Midge Ure, ex England footballer Robbie Fowler and West End actress Carley Stenson are among those backing the campaign along with a large number of MPs.

There is an online petition to have the issue debated in Parliament: https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/209347

The campaign has been prompted by a number of facts including:

  • 5 million households in England do not have a smoke alarm
  • 4,000 people in England are hospitalised each year due to carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Almost 2,500 electrical fire incidents are reported every year
  • Low-income families are most at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning as they cannot afford to service, repair or replace gas appliances.

Stephen Ullathorne, CEO of award-winning safety tech company Gas Tag, which initiated the Axe Safety Tax campaign, said: “The Axe Safety Tax campaign would have saved councils millions of pounds in unnecessary VAT charges.

“At a time when budgets are so tight, our campaign could have enabled some councils to continue with their refurbishment programmes while also improving safety measures.

“It is a disgrace that safety products in the home continue to be taxed as if they were luxury items.”

Video showing celebrities backing the campaign: https://vimeo.com/253250607/dcfac49190

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