Wilson urges HMT rethink on school uniform VAT

DUP East Antrim MP Sammy Wilson has urged the Government to remove VAT on school specific uniform items as uniforms costs are becoming an extortionate tax on parents with school age children.

By Sammy Wilson Candidate

East Antrim

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Sammy Wilson MP said;

“The cost of school uniform items can be extortionate and unaffordable with post-primary uniforms costing an average of £378 per pupil. This cost accumulates hastily for families with multiple children, with a two post-primary child household having to spend nearly £800 on school uniform alone.

School uniforms are like a tax on people and they cause both financial difficulties and unnecessary concern to many families across Northern Ireland, with one third of parents getting into debt each year when buying school uniforms.

Schools also have a duty to not allow monopolies to develop. They should not be instructing parents to only buy from a specified supplier or a certain brand and thereby giving suppliers the ability to demand high prices for school uniforms. The price of school-specific uniforms should not become a barrier for children to attend the school of their choice.

Currently, under VAT rules, school uniforms, for young children who are less than 14 years of age, attract a zero-rate of VAT. On the 6th July I tabled a question to ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whether he plans to remove VAT on school-specific uniforms in the UK. In his response, the Chancellor stated that there are no current plans to extend the existing zero rate.

I urge the Government to recognise the extortionate price of school uniform and to implement an extension of the zero rate or to introduce a price cap on the price of school specific uniforms to support our families and children within Northern Ireland and the UK.”

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