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Argument: Survey of retailors and individuals revealing startling results from a simple reduction of VAT

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Supporting Evidence

  • The sample of manufacturers and retailers surveyed believe that price,accessibility and safety are the key factors of importance to consumers whenpurchasing condoms. Price was thought to be a particularly significantfactor for some of the most vulnerable sexual health risk groups, and any price reduction could therefore have its major impact on condom purchaseand use amongst these groups.
  • Assuming that a VAT reduction from 17.5 per cent to 5 per cent was passedon in full within prices, sales of condoms could increase by up to one millionfor two years. However a price reduction is likely to achieve its best results (in terms of increasing condom use) when introduced alongside broadermeasures designed to promote and improve access to condoms.
  • Rationale for Government Intervention
  • The Government has committed funding for a range of measures designed to improve and modernise sexual health services, and to support people in making better-informed choices for their own sexual health. Measures enacted or planned include:improved access to NHS sexual health and contraceptive services; a National Chlamydia Screening Programme; and a health education campaign aimed at increasing awareness of STI risks.
  • As well as the benefits to be achieved in terms of an individual’s health andwellbeing, there is also a broader economic argument to support Governmentinvestment in sexual health and contraceptive services.

(Research by FPA (Family Planning Association) suggests that for every £1 spent on providing wide availability togood contraception there is a corresponding saving of over £10.5 3All analysis in this section of the RIA is reproduced from OTC Contraceptives – UK Market Study - A Report for Department ofHealth carried out by Sambrook Research International (31 January 05). This included desk research and interviews with a smallsample made up of 27 manufacturers, retailers and other relevant groups. Where relevant, these data will be published byDepartment of Health. 4ibid5Mcguire A and Hughes D (1995) cited in Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV Response to New Developments in Sexual Health and HIV AIDS Policy (February 2006) )

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