As the childhood obesity rate continues to rise in the UK and in other parts of the world, companies that manufacture school uniforms have had to increase the sizes offered to students between the ages of 11 and 16. Under current UK regulations, this means an increase in VAT for uniforms that have badges. Garments manufactured for children who are overweight and under 14 will not be subject to VAT.
But parents of overweight children and uniform manufacturers including Trutex want these laws changed so that all uniforms can remain affordable regardless of their size. "For schools with pupils exclusively under the age of 14, VAT is not applied to their badged school uniform, irrespective of the size. This suggests that the government accepts that these items can only be used for the one purpose, yet this exemption is not extended to the majority of senior schools with pupils up to the age of 16.
"There is no logical reason for this to be the case and the abolishment of VAT should be on badged items within all schools. If the government really is serious about reducing the cost of school uniform for parents, then this is an ideal opportunity for them to demonstrate their intentions,” said Trutex marketing director, Clare Rix. Currently, VAT tax rate is 17%, which is a substantial amount to be paid for a larger sized uniform.
One of the main concerns surrounding this tax is the burden it places on families that are living on a fixed income. Since more and more schools require uniforms that have badges, insignias, and other forms of identification, this tax poses a major threat to the economic stability of many.
The National Schoolwear Centres reported that they are making blazers sizes of 52in. because of the increase in overweight children. Making school uniforms affordable is an important consideration when pricing and taxing them for parents and apparel manufacturers.