Downing Street’s dedicated online petition system just keeps on giving. This time around it’s all about bicycle safety, with an appeal for VAT on safety lights to be scrapped in the same way it’s been dropped for safety helmets.
It’s yet another protest that highlights the often illogical nature of the VAT system. And, unlike many, this particular e-petition seems to be striking a real chord with British cyclists and cycling fans, who are determined to put the argument in front of the government.
Helmets are already VAT exempt
The petition’s creator asks why safety equipment like cycle helmets are VAT free when bike lighting, which you have to have by law, attracts a 20% VAT rate, the highest of the three VAT bands currently in operation in the UK.
Bike lights are currently considered a ‘luxury’
Apparently it’s because bicycle lights are currently classed as a luxury item, which does seem pretty silly when being safe isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity… especially post-Olympics when so many of us, kids included, are taking up cycling for fun and sport.
A bunch of sports nutrition brands previously lobbied against a VAT increase on the goods they manufacture, clocking up a petition with just over 4000 signatures. Which wasn’t enough to stop VAT being charged.
Sign now for no VAT on safe cycling
Thankfully it looks like the cycle lights debacle is catching the public’s imagination. As the dark nights draw in for autumn and winter, let’s hope the government takes note. If you’d like to sign the petition yourself, here’s a link: Abolish VAT on bicycle safety lights. Go sign if you want to help take the petition to the 100,000 signatures it needs to be considered by the government.