At last. Tampon tax set to be scrapped after EU deal

Posted by
Sejal Kapadia Pocha

After months of petitioning, viral parody campaigns, women bleeding in front of parliament in protest and now a backbench rebellion in a Budget vote, the government have finally announced that they are set to scrap the tampon tax.

Downing Street announced that 28 leaders who met at the European Council summit in Brussels have agreed unanimously to a statement allowing member states to exempt sanitary products from VAT.

In October, female sanitary products were still considered ‘luxury’ items after MPs voted against removing the tax on tampon. And yet, jaffa cakes, helicopters and bingo games were subject to zero VAT because they are deemed as "essential".

Chancellor George Osborne said the government "heard people's anger over paying the tampon tax loud and clear" and had pledged to spend the proceeds of the tax on women's charities. 

In the UK women’s sanitary goods are currently taxed at five percent, the lowest permitted rate under EU rules (most products are taxed at 20 percent).  

One of the witty responses to to the luxury tax on sanitary towels and tampons in October 2015

"We said we'd use the money to benefit women's charities and we've already distributed £17m to good causes across the country," Osborne said.

"At the same time we said we'd fight for agreement to reduce the VAT rate to zero, and tonight all European leaders have welcomed our plan to do just that. We've achieved what no British government has even tried to achieve.

"It just shows how Britain can make a case for a reform that will benefit millions as a powerful, confident voice inside a reformed EU."

A formal announcement is expected on Wednesday and the new rates may take some time to come into place.