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Gill Calls for Reduction on VAT on Contraceptives Ahead of Awareness Week

February 14, 2005 12:00 AM

Ahead of Contraceptive Awareness Week, which begins next week on Monday 14th February, Parmjit Singh Gill MP has given his support to a Parliamentary campaign calling for a reduction in the VAT on over-the-counter contraceptives, such as condoms. Parmjit has called for the reduction in VAT charged on condoms to be reduced from the current level of 17.5% to 5%.

Infection rates in the UK and East Midlands:

· 705,594 people diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases in 2003;

· 6,606 new HIV cases were diagnosed in 2003 (around 53,000 people in the UK now live with HIV which is an increase of 7% on 2002);

· Leicester has the highest number of recorded cases of Gonorrhea and Chlamydia in the East Midlands.

Health Protection Agency Report found:

Throughout the East Midlands improving the level of sexual health is being promoted as an objective in the East Midlands Assembly's "Investment for Health: A public health strategy for the East Midlands" which specifically highlighted the need for more young people to use condoms.

Commenting, Mr Gill said:

"With thousands of new infections each year it's crazy that these taxes are so high.

"The cost of these products plays some part in their usage and reducing it will help lower the rising infection rates."

ENDS

Notes to Editors

1. An early day motion (EDM) is a colloquial term for a notice of motion given by a Member for which no date has been fixed for debate. EDMs exist to allow Members to put on record their opinion on a subject and canvass support for it from fellow Members. In effect, the primary function of an EDM is to form a kind of petition that MPs can sign.

2. EDM 469 full text:

REDUCTION OF VAT ON CONDOMS TO 5 PER CENT

"That this House supports calls from the Terence Higgins Trust and the Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV to reduce VAT charged on condoms; recognises that due to its position as an EU member state, the UK cannot entirely remove VAT on condoms but can reduce it to 5 per cent.; understands that sexually transmitted infections cost around £1 billion to treat annually in the UK, while HIV care costs are £350 million and rising; recognises that the high cost of contraceptives disproportionately disadvantages the young; and as a measure to reduce the consideration of cost as a factor in an individual's decision to practise safer sex, calls on the Government to reduce VAT charged on condoms to 5 per cent."

3. By the 11th February 2005 43 MPs had signed EDM 469

4. Contraceptive Awareness Week is being organized by the Family Planning Association. More information can be found at:

http://www.fpa.org.uk/news/camps/Winter05/caw.htm

5. Other organisations have added their support to the Early Day Motion including:

i) The Terence Higgins Trust: www.tht.org.uk

ii) The Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV: http://www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/HealthAndSocialCareTopics/SexualHealth/SexualHealthGeneralInformation/SexualHealthGeneralArticle/fs/en?CONTENT_ID=4079794&chk=NWHX/b

6. BBC website (online fact sheets) www.bbc.co.uk/health/awareness/contraceptive.shtml

7. Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) cause a wide range of illnesses and are a significant cause of long-term and serious disability in the UK. They are associated with pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, ectopic pregnancy, cervical cancer, infections of newborn babies, and even death, particularly in the case of HIV infection.

8. The figures for infection rates in the East Midlands can be found in the Communicable Disease in the East Midlands Report published by the Health Protection Agency in February 2004:

http://www.hpa.org.uk/hpa/publications/EMannrep.pdf