Stephen Williams MP - working hard for Bristol West

Stephen Williams responds to speculation on condom tax

5.16.54pm GMT Mon 6th Mar 2006

Stephen Williams (photography: Tim Pollard)

MP for Bristol West Stephen Williams has welcomed reports that Gordon Brown is about to cut the VAT on condoms from 17.5% to 5% in response to a campaign supported by MPs from all parties to improve Britain's sexual health.

Stephen Williams, who is the Lib Dem Shadow Minister for Public Health, said "If these reports are true this is a positive move. Sexually transmitted diseases are on the rise, but are often easily prevented. Education clearly plays a major role, but the availability and price of contraceptives is also an important factor."

Condoms, and possibly other contraceptives such as the morning after pill, are expected to be reclassified as 'essential' items rather than 'luxury' items - the definitions which determine their VAT rating. The move will cost the government around £10 million per year in lost revenue.

Stephen added "Preventative healthcare is often ignored and starved of finances, but it is frequently the cheapest and most effective way to a healthier population. This move should save money in the long term, as prevention is always better than cure."

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Next news story: Stephen Williams MP gets Higher Education brief (Mon 20th Mar 2006).

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