SUPERMARKET bosses are calling on the government to scrap tax on sun cream.

As it is, sunscreen is classed as a ‘cosmetic product’, rather than an ‘essential healthcare’ item – which means that a 20 per cent VAT charge is added onto the price.

A normal bottle of sun lotion costs around £5-7 so about £1.50 of this is the VAT charge.

Heads at Co-op Midcounties say that reclassifying the item into an essential product would make it VAT exempt and would ‘play a significant part’ in making sunscreen more affordable.

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Cancer Research UK states that getting sunburnt just once every two years can triple the risk of melanoma skin cancer – which has been diagnosed in more than double the number of people since the 1990s.

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To help reduce the costs for customers now, Co-op Midcounties has slashed the price of sun cream in its shops by 20 per cent.

But bosses still want people to back the campaign and have started a petition to get action.

They have also asked customers to write to their MPs.

Popular TV medic, Dr Hilary Jones, has also supported the cause to make sun cream tax-exempt, saying: “Sunscreen is a really important medical product that prevents against the risk of skin cancer.

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"I fully support the Co-op Midcounties campaign and it’s important that we get Ministers interested in removing VAT from sunscreen.

"There is a wide consensus of doctors, skin specialists, dermatologists and cancer specialists who would agree that sunscreen should be reclassified as a healthcare product.”

Sign the petition here