Tories refuse to scrap 1973 kids clothes 'tall tax' costing parents £100 a year

Ministers are refusing to scrap a 1973 “tall tax” on kids clothes which costs parents more than £100 a year.

The Government is resisting ­demands to make all children’s uniforms free of VAT saying it would cost too much.

Currently only kids’ clothes and shoes which were deemed 48 years ago to fit an under 14 are exempt from the 20% tax. Kids are on average an inch taller than in the 70s and one in five is obese.

MP Sir Christopher Chope said if the Government is concerned about the cost of kitting out kids: “It should remove VAT from all uniforms.

“And update the maximum measurements for all kids’ clothing.”

School uniform and schoolbag hanging on hook against wall
The Government is resisting ­demands to make all children’s uniforms free of VAT

But Financial Secretary Jesse Norman said ­ditching VAT on all kids’ clothes would be too costly.

Norman said last week that would add too much to the £2billion the exemption already costs the Treasury.

He added: “The Government has no plans to review the VAT treatment of children’s clothing.”

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MPs have been trying to get the Treasury to rethink for years.

Former Children’s minister Tim Loughton said: “It is medical fact children are larger than when the so-called average figures were devised.”

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Lawyer Tim Meader, 45, of New Ash Green, Kent, is 6ft 10in, son Corran, 12, is 5ft 8in and daughter Freya, 14, is 5ft 11in.

Lawyer Tim Meader and his kids
Lawyer Tim Meader and his kids

Mr Meader said: “You pay more for clothes only for the children to outgrow them in a few months.

“Shoes are the main problem. Both the children take size 10 and have been wearing adult shoes for several years already.”

Matthew Easter of the Schoolwear Association said: “If clothes are school branded with a badge that is unlikely. They are only going to be bought for children who go to that school.”

He estimated that the change would save parents £30 a year on uniforms alone.

Children’s clothes and shoes have been zero-rated since VAT was introduced in 1973 but there is still no definition of the term “young children” in tax law. So relief is based on the estimated size an average child will be on their 14th birthday.



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