Rotherham’s World Cup Final referee is showing the red card to VAT on defibrillators.
Howard Webb has joined Wentworth and Dearne MP, John Healey, in campaigning to get the government to remove the 20% tax that local sports teams and community groups must pay when purchasing the lifesaving equipment.
Defibrillators cost between £800-£2,500, so removing VAT could reduce their cost by as much as £500.
Howard, who is now Chief Refereeing Officer at the Professional Game Match Officials Limited, was referee when former Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch and was helped by a defibrillator in 2012.
He said: “It’s well known how the early use of a defibrillator is vital when it comes to saving lives and I was taken aback that sports clubs and local groups have to pay as much as £500 in tax when they buy one.
“Making the devices more affordable is a simple and effective way to save lives in communities across the country.
“What happened to Fabrice put things into perspective. The game is important, the result is important to people and it does affect people’s livelihoods, – but without life there is no football at all.”
Currently, only AEDs purchased by or donated to specific charities, local authorities, and the NHS are exempt from VAT.
Wentworth and Dearne MP, John Healey, wrote to the Chancellor asking him to review the current VAT status of automated external defibrillators (AEDs) in the UK, and to axe the tax on the life-saving kit.
John said: “The current VAT charge is a tax on saving lives. AEDs bought for use by all community groups and sports clubs should be VAT exempt to make them more affordable and help to save more lives across the country.
“It’s great that defibrillators are becoming more readily available to help people in an emergency, but local organisations and community groups shouldn’t have to face this extra VAT cost when they look to raise the funds for defib units to benefit their community.
“Removing VAT would make them more affordable, and in turn increase purchases and make them even more readily available.”
John Healey launched a petition calling on the Government to cut the VAT on defibrillators which is available to sign online at www.johnhealeymp.co.uk/cut-vat-on-defibrillators/