THE Prime Minister has been warned that failure to remove VAT for sunscreen products will result in more cases of melanoma skin cancer.

The SNP MP Amy Callaghan (below) – who is herself a skin cancer survivor – wrote to Rishi Sunak urging him to make high-factor sun protection more accessible.

She said that cases of melanoma, which is caused by ultraviolet light from the sun and in some cases sunbeds, have more than doubled in the last 25 years with 17,000 new cases and 2300 deaths each year.

In the letter signatories pointed towards research showing that 67% of people would use sunscreen more if it was 20% cheaper.

The UK Government has previously claimed that sunscreen is already available on prescription for people with certain medical conditions.

The National: The SNP MP Amy Callaghan was diagnosed with melanoma when she was 19-years-oldThe SNP MP Amy Callaghan was diagnosed with melanoma when she was 19-years-old

However, the letter highlight that this provision is “extremely limited” and does not include melanoma patients.

“With every day the UK government refuses to act, more people are diagnosed with melanoma.

“It is now one of the most lethal cancers for people aged between 15 and 34, and the number of cases are expected to hit almost 20,000 by 2025.

“I know first-hand how devastating it is to receive a melanoma diagnosis, and it’s even more tragic because this horrific disease is almost entirely preventable by staying safe in the sun.

“But we know from polling that most people think sunscreen is too expensive, and they would use it more if it was cheaper.

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“That is why everyone who has signed this letter is calling on the UK government to remove VAT from sunscreen, and to launch a public-awareness campaign like Australia’s successful ‘Slip, Slop, Slap’.

“With treasury ministers refusing to even entertain the idea, it’s time for the Prime Minister to step in and do the right thing, make sunscreen exempt from VAT, and ultimately save lives.”

The treatment of skin cancer costs the NHS more than £500 million a year across the UK, while the cost of removing VAT from sunscreen is estimated to be around £60 million.