‘Tampon tax’ has been a contentious topic for many years. The umbrella term is used to describe the 5% VAT added to the cost of tampons and other sanitary products, categorising them as “non-essential, luxury items”.
It was imposed in 1972 and was drastically reduced from 17.5% after a successful campaign led by Labour MP Dawn Primarolo in 2000. The government has since said that EU laws prohibited any further reductions in the rate of tampon tax.
In 2015, George Osborne, the Chancellor at the time, pledged that all tax revenue raised on tampons and other feminine hygiene products would go directly to charities that help women. Since this announcement, £47m has been channelled to the charities.
In March this year, the abolition of the tax was announced and will come into place once the Brexit transition period ends - scheduled 31st December 2020.
Although this fundamentally feels like a long-awaited victory (and the removal of what seems to be the quite ridiculous tag of a "non-essential, luxury item"), I wonder what impact this will have on the revenue generated for the womens' charities? In the current climate of COVID-19 and the uncertainty of when any kind of ‘new normal’ will resume, removal of the current guaranteed income from the tampon tax could conversely have a profound and negative impact on the ability for charities to support women who cannot afford the cost of sanitary products. Only time will tell, post COVID-19 and Brexit conditions.
We would love to hear your opinions on this topic. Get in touch with us through social media with your views on tampon tax. We are interested to start converations and learn more about issues such as this, as a part of our pledge to normalise period talk.