On Wednesday 11th March, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak revealed the scrapping of the ‘tampon tax’ in The 2020 Budget.
This means the Chancellor has scrapped the five percent VAT on all sanitary products. Currently, the levy means that tampons, sanitary pads, and menstrual cups are viewed as luxury items rather than essentials, and are therefore subjected to 5% tax. It is expected that the tax will finally be scrapped when the transition period for leaving the EU ends in December 2020. Today, the Chancellor said:
“I can also confirm, now we’ve left the EU, that I will abolish the tampon tax. From January next year, there will be no VAT whatsoever on women’s sanitary products.”
According to numerous reports, this will save the average woman almost £40 over their lifetime – with a tax cut of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on a pack of 12 pads.
The announcement comes after endless years of campaigning. In May 2014 the Stop Taxing Periods campaign started by student at Goldsmiths University Laura Coryton, gained more than 320,000 signatures. In a statement via Change.org, Laura noted:
“Periods are no luxury. You can ‘opt-in’ to extravagance. You cannot choose to menstruate… by using sanitary products, our Government capitalises on misogynist discourse and period shame that has caused us to fear our own menstrual cycles.”
In the fight to end period poverty, the abolishment of the tax is a huge achievement. However, this is not the end and more measures must still be taken. The University of Nottingham Women’s Network recognises this when stating:
“The Government’s announcement for scrapping the tampon tax is great news for all who have periods. However, more needs to be done to bring free sanitary products onto schools etc to combat period poverty. Products that are accessible for girls, trans boys and girls and non-binary individuals.”
Featured image courtesy of Change.org via Facebook.
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