UK abolishes ‘Tampon tax’ on menstrual products

Tampon tax activist Laura Coryton says scrapping the tampon tax is an important move ‘ending a symptom of sexism’. Image Source: Laura Coryton

In a great move to aid menstrual hygiene and health, the United Kingdom has abolished the 5 per cent value-added tax (VAT), also called the ‘tampon tax’ on women’s menstrual products.

The government said that this move was possible post Brexit: the European Union law had prevented the member states from lowering the VAT to below 5 per cent, which resulted in menstrual products being treated as luxury items rather than essential ones.

“I’m proud that we are today delivering on our promise to scrap the tampon tax,” said UK finance minister Rishi Sunak, who committed to abolishing this unpopular tax in his March budget.

“Sanitary products are essential so it’s right that we do not charge VAT,” he said in a statement.

According to estimates by the British treasury, the move will save the average woman nearly 40 pounds over the lifetime.

Women rights activists and campaigners have widely praised this move.

“It’s been a long road to reach this point, but at last the sexist tax that saw sanitary products classed as non-essential, luxury items can be consigned to the history books,” Felicia Willow Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, the UK’s oldest charity campaigning for women’s rights and gender equality.

There are only a few nations in the world that have zero tax added to menstrual and sanitary products. They include India, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, Lebanon, South Africa, Kenya, and some states in the United States.

In November last year, Scotland became the first country in the world to make sanitary products free for all women.

Don’t you think this move should be emulated by all nations across the world? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

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