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Finally, there's some good news about the tampon tax

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Megan Murray
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The government has announced further plans to use the money generated by the tampon tax to donate funds to charities that support vulnerable women. 

In an ideal world, the 5% luxury tax applied to all sanitary products (because apparently stemming our involuntary, monthly menstrual bleeding is considered a “luxury” by some) would be abolished by now.

In fact, scrap that. In an ideal (read: equal and fair) world, there would have never been a tampon tax in the first place. 

But, until a change in EU rules allows a zero rate of VAT to be applied to women’s sanitary products, the government seems to be trying its best to find a way of doing something positive with the money we’re spending on tax. 

Plans to donate money spent on the tampon tax to women’s charities and causes was first announced in the 2015 Autumn Statement by the then-Chancellor George Osbourne, who said he would be dividing £5m between the Eve Appeal, SafeLives and Women’s Aid and the Haven while inviting “bids from other such good causes.”

Yesterday (26 March), the Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch, announced that thousands of women from across the UK will benefit from the latest round of the Tampon Tax Fund. Over £15m from is being given to projects that tackle sexual violence and address social exclusion among BAME women.

Crouch said: “The money generated from sanitary products is being invested in good causes that tackle the serious issues that women of all ages face. It will be used to support vulnerable women and girls and help build a Britain fit for the future.”

Over the next two years, the money will also be used to make grants to smaller organisations so they can deploy services that support the most vulnerable and disadvantaged women and girls in the country.

Since 2015, over 70 charities have been receiving grants through previous rounds of the fund, amounting to £32m so far. The new announcement will increase investment awarded from the Tampon Tax Fund to £47m.

But although this is undoubtedly good news, these figures can feel hard to relate to without context of where the money is actually going. 

The report published over on Gov.uk outlines 10 projects receiving funding from this round of the Tampon Tax, so we’ve summarised them for you below.

UK Community Foundations
This is the national network for all community foundations across the UK, ensuring that investment in local communities goes where it’s needed most. The Tribewoman project will receive £3,400,000 to support vulnerable and excluded women by making onward grants to smaller charities across the UK.

Arhag Housing Association
Arhag began by supporting African refugees who were experiencing housing problems in 1988, but now houses refugees and migrants from all countries and continents. The BME Women Hub project will receive  £1,040,000 with an aim to alleviate poverty and social exclusion among women in England.

Brook Young People

In 1964, Helen Brook created a pioneering health service for young women who couldn’t access contraception anywhere else and desperately needed support. Over the last 50 years, this organisation has fought stigma and created a safe place to advice young people on sexual health. The ‘Let’s Talk. Period.’ project will aim to address period poverty in England with funding of £1,500,000.

Rape Crisis England & Wales
Rape Crisis England & Wales is a feminist organisation that exists to promote the needs and rights of women and girls who have experienced sexual violence, to improve services to them and to work towards the elimination of sexual violence. Rape Crisis Centres in England plan to use £1,400,000  of funding to deliver a new approach to tackling sexual violence.

Women’s Aid Federation of England
This federation of over 220 organisations provides more than 300 local lifesaving services to women and children experiencing domestic abuse across the country. The ‘Ask Me’ project will be awarded £1,509,850 of funding to improve the community response to domestic abuse across the UK.

Hestia Housing and Support
Hestia focuses on supporting both adults and children in times of crisis, from victims of modern slavery to women and children experiencing domestic abuse. The ‘Tools for the Job’ pilot project will receive £1,000,000 to transform the way that employers deal with domestic abuse, by improving their HR policies and delivering awareness raising for staff.

The RCJ & Islington Citizens Advice Bureaux
This citizens advice bureaux will receive £1,090,488 for The FLOWS project, which will provide online-tools to improve the capacity of front-line domestic-violence agencies in England to provide legal support to women and children.

Mind is one of the biggest mental health charities in the UK and aims to increase the provision of mental health peer support for women experiencing, and at risk of, mental health problems with £1,785,554 of funding. 

St. Giles Trust
This organisation provides specialist help for young people affected by gang-related violence and exploitation. The ‘Footsteps’ project aims to improve service provision to women in the Criminal Justice System in England with mental health and complex support needs, using £1,077,158 of funding. 

One Parent Families Scotland
This Scotland only project will be awarded £1,049,590 to offer a free support and counselling service for the most disadvantaged, vulnerable and marginalised women most in need.    

You can learn more about the history of tampon tax and where progress on abolishing it is currently at, here

For one day only on Tuesday 27 March, Fearne Cotton has taken over stylist.co.uk and transformed it into her very own Happy Place – a digital sanctuary, focusing entirely on wellness, happiness and good mental health.

For similarly inspiring and uplifting content, check out Fearne Cotton’s Happy Place, available on Apple Podcasts now.

Images: Getty