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Lemon PPE Supplier: Advice On The Upcoming Suspension Of Zero VAT On PPE

As it currently stands, the UK Government will be ending their temporary scrapping of VAT on PPE (which had already seen an extension) at the end of October. With the nation seemingly in an increasingly precarious situation, and with the looming threat of a second virus wave growing daily, at the moment, it’s worth considering what this suspension may mean for organisations unable to reclaim VAT such as care homes, housing associations and other healthcare providers etc. With that in mind, the team here at Lemon, a leading UK PPE and workplace solutions provider, wanted to look at the potential ramifications of this change.

The Ever-Constant Threat Of PPE Shortages

Heading into the colder, winter months, we might be seeing something of a perfect snow-filled storm on the horizon, coming right towards us. With viruses tending to spread more in the winter months, anyway, there’s a very real danger that we may once again be facing PPE shortages as virus cases climb upwards. However, what many people don’t realise, is that if we are to face shortages, they’re more likely to come sooner rather than later, and that, in no small part, is down to the current VAT tax freeze.

Care homes, home care providers and many other businesses are already required to work to extremely tight budgets, even in ‘normal’ times. These, however, as we’re now all well-aware, are no normaltimes. When you pair that with the fact that many care homes, for instance, are often unable to reclaim their VAT on purchases, you can begin to understand as to precisely why they’re so eager to eke out every last bit of benefit from the tax freeze as possible. According to the UK Government, in fact, the freeze will have saved businesses an estimated £155 million, not an insignificant sum of money, whichever way you look at it.

Stockpiling PPE Could Well Be A Sensible Idea

It’s no surprise that many businesses and care providers will be wanting to get as much of their PPE supplies in now, for the autumn and winter months, whilst the going is good from an economic perspective. Inevitably, though, this will place PPE suppliersunder quite the strain in order to meet that demand all converging at the same time. If that demand can be met, however (and Sean Nutley, Managing Director of Lemon, is quietly confident that it can) then it’s a win-win situation (or, at least, as much of one as anything can be in this crazy year) – the care homes and businesses get what they need at a more attractive price point, whilst the suppliers can cater to that surge in demand.That’sthe ideal situation to strive towards over the next couple of months, and something which suppliers such as Lemonare working towards.

Which Products Are Currently Covered By The Zero Rate?

The products that are currently covered by the VAT freeze include:

· Disposable fluid-resistant coveralls or gowns

· Filtering face-piece respirators

· Disposable gloves

· Eye and face protection

· Disposable plastic aprons

For a complete list of which items are currently exempt from VAT, visit the UK Government’s website. Lemonhas an extensive supply of various PPE items, from gloves through to disinfectant spray, and can also look to procure anything that isn’t currently supplied, upon reasonable request.

Will Stockpiling Lead To A Shortage?

Of course, with businesses, care homes and home care providers looking to make the most of the current zero rate, there may end up being shortages. In many ways, it’s a catch-22, because it’s completely understandable for businesses to try and make financial savings in a period of such economic turbulence and uncertainty. So, from that perspective at least, stockpiling PPE makes a great deal of sense. At the same time, however, the last thing anybody wants is for those that need the protection most in the coming months being unable to access what they desperately need, and the potential consequences of shortages are very dangerous, indeed.

Different This Time Around

It’s worth remembering, though, that when shortages were faced earlier this year, it was because the nation was very much ‘firefighting’. It was having to react and trying to get something which was already spiralling out of control back under control. It was a markedly different situation, and the country is now much better prepared than it was half a year ago (and this increased preparedness is a large part of what makes Sean confident that the strain can be supported). PPE suppliers across the nation are well-aware of the fact that demand may well likely rocket soon, and have acted accordingly. If, at the onset of the outbreak, PPE suppliers felt they were playing a desperate game of catch-up, then this time around they’ve certainly managed to turn the tables. Even so, however, it remains important that businesses aren’t wasteful with their PPE.

If it does prove to be a case of hunkering down over the winter months, which, it's looking increasingly likely might well be the case, then you’d rather do it with a plentiful supply of protection, at hand. The saying ‘better to be safe than sorry’ has perhaps never been as appropriate as it has this year, and a bit of extra caution never hurt anybody. So, if you’d like to find out more about what we offer as a PPE supplier, then get in touch! Contact Lemon today by emailing us at info@lemon.co.uk or calling on 0333 241 6950. Or take a look at our instagram to see the products we have on offer and tips on how to best use PPE.