U.K. government is upset because it refused to extend the VAT freeze on medical PPE despite daily Covid cases rising above 20,000 and hospital beds full
- An email sent by MailOnline to industry officials at the Treasury Department confirmed that 20 percent VAT on PPE will resume from October 31st
- The increase is passed on to consumers for items such as surgical masks
- The government initially introduced a VAT freeze on the items on May 1st
The government has been criticized for refusing to freeze VAT on PPE, even though demand is higher than ever as the country grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases.
An email sent by MailOnline to industry representatives at the Treasury Department confirmed that VAT of 20 percent on the PPE they manufacture will resume from October 31st.
The controversial decision means the increase will be passed on to consumers for items like medical grade surgical masks that have become mandatory in many areas of British life.
The government introduced its VAT freeze on PSA on May 1, initially stating that it would run until October 31 to cope with a surge in demand.
The government has been criticized for refusing to extend VAT on PSA even though daily Covid cases have risen over 20,000 (file photo).
With the pandemic still gripping the country and the UK today, with 20,530 more coronavirus cases and the deaths of 224 announced, industry officials had campaigned the government to extend the freeze – and insisted it was in the national interest.
The number of hospitalizations in the northern regions of England and the Midlands has also grown steadily. They are already reporting that they are at full capacity.
James Bielby, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Federation of Wholesale Distributors, which represents companies involved in the purchase and distribution of PPE, told MailOnline, “The government's decision means that the cost of PPE will be passed on to consumers.
"We are still in the middle of the pandemic and in a time of restrictions across the country, believing that the VAT freeze on PPE had to stay in place.
“There is a compelling argument for this and good reasons for it to continue. We will continue to lobby the government, but we are very disappointed with their decision. "
Tory MP Philip Dunne, who pushed for the liberation earlier in the pandemic, told MailOnline the liberation should stay in place.
"As one of those who put the Chancellor under pressure in the spring to relieve the PSA in order to help the care sector, she remains under pressure on the way into the winter," said the former minister.
“I would like to urge him to extend the VAT relief until we come out on the other side of the Covid pandemic.
"I'm particularly concerned about nursing homes because they are in huge demand."
Both hospitals and nursing homes need medical PPE supplies to ensure their staff, patients and residents are protected from the virus.
At the start of the pandemic, reports of doctors and nurses using garbage bags to protect their bodies and feet were commonplace for frontline workers due to the lack of PPE.
The nurses imagined carrying clinical garbage bags on their heads at Northwick Park Hospital in March
News of the impending end to the VAT freeze came shortly after it became known that demand for beds caused the NHS Nightingale Hospital in Manchester to reopen next week as the city goes into a tier three lockdown.
Hospitals in neighboring Liverpool are already treating more Covid-19 patients than in April.
A local NHS chief announced today that the makeshift hospital set up at Manchester Central Conference Center would be back on stream before the end of next week. It will be the first in England to reopen.
It had closed in June when the UK's first wave of the outbreak burned out, but there are now fears that local hospitals will again be inundated with Covid patients.
The nightingale is not used to treat seriously ill people with coronavirus, but is opened to add capacity for "additional rehabilitation".
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