FORMER Premier League referee Howard Webb has teamed up with a local MP to support a campaign which aims to cut VAT on defibrillators.

John Healey, who represents Wentworth and Dearne, has been campaigning for a number of months in a bid to remove the 20 per cent tax local sports teams and community groups must pay when purchasing the lifesaving equipment.

Defibrillators cost between £800 to £2,500, so removing VAT could reduce their cost by as much as £500.

Mr Webb, who is now the head of the Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL), was the referee when former Bolton Wanderers player Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch and was helped by a defibrillator in 2012.

He said: “It’s well-known how the early use of a defibrillator is vital when it comes to saving lives and I was taken aback that sports clubs and local groups have to pay as much as £500 in tax when they buy one.

“Making the devices more affordable is a simple and effective way to save lives in communities across the country.

“What happened to Fabrice put things into perspective.

“The game is important, the result is important to people and it does affect people’s livelihoods - but without life there is no football at all.”

Mr Healey has written to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt, asking him to review the current situation.

“It’s great that defibrillators are becoming more readily available to help people in an emergency, but local organisations and community groups shouldn’t have to face this extra VAT cost when they look to raise the funds for defib units to benefit their community,” he said.

“Removing VAT would make them more affordable, and in turn increase purchases and make them even more readily available.”