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Closed petition Scrap VAT on life-saving motorcycle air vests

We call on the Government to scrap VAT on life-saving air vests which are currently subject to 20% VAT rate. Other lifesaving equipment, like helmets, are either zero or lower rated.

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Motorcyclists have one of the highest fatality rates per passenger mile of any road user, and with many good quality air vests costing in excess of £400, we believe making these cheaper by scrapping VAT will save many lives and prevent serious injuries, as recommended by road safety charity IAM RoadSmart.

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Government responded

This response was given on 8 December 2023

The Government is committed to the safety of motorcyclists and introduced a zero-rate of VAT on motorcycle helmets. Motorcycle air vests are not included in this, but we keep all taxes under review.

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Whilst there are currently no plans to remove VAT on motorcycle air vests, the Government remains committed to ensuring the safety of motorcyclists. For example, motorcycle helmets, which satisfy the requirements of regulation 8(2) of the Personal Protective Equipment Regulations 2002, are zero-rated for VAT. Further information can be found here: Protective equipment (VAT Notice 701/23): https://www.gov.uk/guidance/protective-equipment-and-vat-notice-70123.

VAT has been designed as a broad-based tax on consumption, and the twenty per cent standard rate applies to the vast majority of goods and services, including motorcycle air vests. While there are exceptions to the standard rate, these have always been strictly limited by both legal and fiscal considerations.

VAT is the UK’s third largest tax forecast to raise £173.3 billion in 2023/24, helping to fund key spending priorities such as important public services, including the NHS, education and defence.

The Government keeps all taxes under review and welcomes representations to help inform future decisions on tax policy, as part of the tax policy making cycle and Budget process.

HM Treasury