Tampon tax 'to be scrapped' by Chancellor in Budget

7 March 2020, 14:18

The Treasury estimates the move will save the average woman nearly £40 over her lifetime
The Treasury estimates the move will save the average woman nearly £40 over her lifetime. Picture: PA

By Megan White

The tampon tax is expected to be scrapped in this week’s Budget, with the Chancellor committing to slash the VAT on sanitary products to zero.

Rishi Sunak is planning to announce on Wednesday that the unpopular tax will end with the Brexit transition period at the close of the year.

The Treasury estimates the move will save the average woman nearly £40 over her lifetime, with a cut of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on 12 pads.

EU law has so far prevented member states from reducing the rate below 5 per cent, which means tampons and pads are treated as luxury items and not essentials.

But the Government plans to introduce the zero rate on January 1, the first day the laws no longer apply to the UK.

Critics have long criticised the tax for contributing to "period poverty", where sanitary products are pushed out of reach because of their cost.

The UK currently uses the revenues raised to fund charities which aid vulnerable women, with £62 million having been allocated since the scheme was launched in 2015.

Campaigners welcomed the move but raised concerns the Treasury is not planning to replace the Tampon Tax Fund with other investment.

The chief executive of the Women's Resource Centre charity, Vivienne Hayes, said: "We are over the moon to learn of this news, tampons and sanitary towels were never luxury items and should never have been subject to VAT.

"Congratulations to all the women who campaigned so long for this ridiculous and unfair tax to be removed.

"We are concerned that the Tampon Tax Fund will now be abandoned by the Government and we hope to see a replacement fund for women's health and support charities announced in the near future."

They also urged Boris Johnson to go further and spend the £700 million they estimate has been raised during the tax's lifetime to be paid back to women's charities, with Ms Hayes saying: "Come on Prime Minister pay back the tampon tax."

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