Uh oh, you are using an old web browser that we no longer support. Some of this website's features may not work correctly because of this. Learn about updating to a more modern browser here.

Skip To Content

Say “No” to VAT rise

Amanda Mealing, actress and Save the Children ambassador, explains why a raise in VAT will hit the poorest families (and children) in the UK the hardest.


Listen to Save the Children’s response the Emergency Budget announcement.

As a Save the Children ambassador, I’ve been to help the poorest kids in Sierra Leone and Bangladesh. But I also believe that now we need to help poor kids right here in the UK. That’s why I’m telling the Chancellor today: Don’t raise VAT to 20%.

VAT costs everyone the same – whether you earn £10,000 or £100,000. In fact, the less you earn, the worse it is. If you’re a millionaire, then £50 VAT on a £300 washing machine won’t mean much. But if you’re Dianne, a single mum of four who lives in an estate just round the corner from Downing Street, it’s a fortune.

Insurance on such a thing is an extra cost that is too much to bear, so if hers breaks down she has to buy a new one – and she just doesn’t have the money. Dianne’s typical of many mums Save the Children works with – and whom the Emergency Budget could end up hurting most.

When David Cameron first stood outside Number Ten last month, he said the government would always look after the most vulnerable.

Of course the government has to deal with the national debt. But the PM must ensure the poorest don’t end up paying the price for the mess we’re in.

British children today should not be living in homes where their parents have to choose between heating the house or cooking a hot meal. Or going to school without a warm coat in winter. Or sleeping on the floor because there’s no money for beds. Save the Children is helping families like these every day.

Here are the facts: Raising VAT from 17.5% to 20% would mean an extra £12 a year on telephone bills, an extra £20 a year on clothes, an extra £5-6 on essential kitchen appliances. The sums might not seem much put like that but together it all adds up. For people on a tight budget, it’s the difference between surviving, and getting into debt.

In fact, if VAT goes up to 20%, the poorest could be spending up to £1,600 of their money each year on VAT alone.  If Cameron’s serious about  protecting the poorest – then he must think for a moment. Otherwise families like Dianne’s – on the lowest incomes – will end up paying the biggest price.

Read our response to the Chancellor’s first emergency budget

Read more about child poverty in the UK

Take action to end child poverty

Share this article