The Association of Medical Insurers and Intermediaries (AMII)'s petition to scrap Insurance Premium Tax (IPT) on health insurance has been postponed due to the forthcoming 'snap' General Election.
The election has meant that parliament will be dissolved on 3 May 2017 and all parliamentary business - including petitions - must stop on that date until after the election, which will take place on 8 June.
The AMII will need to begin the campaign, including collecting existing and new signatures from scratch, at a later date.
Originally the IPT petition, launched in April 2017, was to remain open for a period of six months to 5 October 2017, during which time, AMII had to gain 100,000 signatories in order for the petition to be debated in Parliament. To date, the petition has received 1,062 signatures but the government requires 10,000 to respond to a petition.
Following the closure of parliamentary business, the petition will be available for people to read on the site even though it will be closed for signatures.
The petition cannot be reopened after the election. As a result, AMII will have start the petition again when the site reopens after the election, but cannot transfer signatures to the new petition.
Following an announcement by Chancellor Philip Hammond (pictured) in the Autumn Statement last November, IPT now stands at 12% - one of the highest rates in Europe - and the AMII has campaigned to make it exempt from health insurance premiums.
'Not necessarily bad news'
The AMII said in a statement: "This isn't necessarily bad news. The current petition has been slow to build momentum since it's launch earlier this month, leaving us some considerable way from achieving our objective.
"For our campaign to have a chance of success, it is important that momentum is seen to build quickly - at 10,000 signatures you get a response from Government and this provides an opportunity for us to enter into a dialogue about the issue and explain our position in more detail, in preparation for a parliamentary debate if signatures reach 100,000.
"The postponement of petitions for the election gives us some time to revisit our collective approach in the hope that each of us can be fully prepared to promote the new petition to every person IPT affects, whether they be companies, employees or individuals.
"AMII remains committed to achieving a parliamentary debate on the impact of IPT including how it indirectly affects an already overstretched NHS."
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