Post-Brexit Britain: Demand to scrap VAT on school uniforms

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Clothes and shoes for young children are already exempt but a 20 percent tax is slapped on items for older children.

The tax hits clothes and footwear with maximum sizes bigger than an average 13 year old.

Critics say this penalises larger than average children and forces families to spend millions of pounds more on uniforms.

When the Brexit transition phase ends at the close of the year the UK is expected to have new freedoms to cut VAT rates without the consent of the remaining member states.

The report from the Schoolwear Association states: “School uniforms are essential items of clothing for millions of children across the country. Government should use the next Finance Bill to exempt school uniform from VAT and help keep unnecessary costs down for families.”

Matthew Easter, managing director of uniform-manufacturer, Trutex said: “School uniform plays an enormously important role in schools. They are a social leveller, reduce bullying, promote pride and boost academic performance.

“The financial situation of many families has taken a hit because of coronavirus. Exempting VAT on school uniforms for all children until they leave school would help many families across the country.”

A Treasury spokesman said: “Families already benefit from a zero rate of VAT for clothing and footwear designed for young children less than 14 years of age. We keep all taxes under review.”

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