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Thursday, August 05, 2021

Britain abolishes sales tax on sanitary products

The country abolished the tax after it left the European Union. EU law stops most Member States from fully dropping VAT on sanitary products.

By: Deutsche Welle | London |
January 2, 2021 6:26:16 pm
Brexit, London, UK FlagA representational image of Britain's flag. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Britain’s finance ministry announced on Friday that it had abolished the value-added tax on women’s sanitary products.

“Sanitary products are essential, so it’s right that we do not charge VAT,” said Sunak. “We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women,” said Rishi Sunak, the Treasury chief.

Sunak had promised to eliminate the tax in March when he released the budget but had to wait for the UK to leave the EU to make the move.

The abolition of the “tampon tax” will save the average British woman about 40 pounds (€45, $55) over her lifetime, according to estimates from the UK treasury.

“It’s been a long road to reach this point, but at last, the sexist tax that saw sanitary products classified as non-essential, luxury items can be consigned to the history books,” said Felicia Willow the chief of Fawcett Society, a women’s rights charity.

Scotland has already passed a bill that gives women free universal access to sanitary products in public buildings. Countries like Australia, Canada and India have already eliminated the tampon tax, while some states in the US have also got rid of the tax.

Success attributed to Brexit

The elimination of the “tampon tax” was attributed by several Conservative MPs to Brexit. Members of the EU can’t reduce the rate of VAT to less than 5% on menstrual products as they are classified as luxury items.

The UK left the single market and customs union of the EU on Thursday, enabling it to make new laws and classify tampons and sanitary pads as essential commodities.

However, Laura Coryton, an activist told the Guardian’s website that it is “frustrating that the tampon tax is being used as a political football in terms of Brexit.”

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