Is the UK’s ‘tampon tax’ finally coming to an end?
The UK’s so-called ‘tampon tax’ may be coming to an end, as Prime Minister David Cameron has secured the go ahead from other EU leaders to get rid.
Currently VAT is charged at 5 percent on sanitary products, a tax which has been greatly criticised, especially given some of the other exemptions.
A few examples of VAT-exempt products include baps and pitta bread, marshmallow teacakes, edible cake decorations, bingo, jaffa cakes, chickpeas, lentils, exotic meats, including crocodile, flapjacks, houseboat moorings, sewer cleaning and herbal tea.
The BBC now reports that the Prime Minister now has backing from other EU leaders to scrap the tax on sanitary products, after more than 300,000 people signed a petition calling on VAT to be scrapped on the products.
It now appears the tax could be scrapped within a matter of days.
Those campaigning for Britain to leave the EU have been quick to highlight the role the EU plays in setting VAT rates.
Some Conservative MPs had threatened to vote for an amendment to the Finance Bill in the House of Commons on Tuesday which would have zero-rated sanitary products.
The amendment was tabled by Labour MP Paula Sheriff who said: “Women’s sanitary products are not a luxury. George Osborne failed to take the opportunity in his Budget to say that he would take the action called for by Labour and feminist campaigners and seek to get the ‘tampon tax’ abolished.
“But we now know that the European Commission is on the verge of offering the opportunity to do just that. George Osborne should work with Labour MEPs and other EU member states to ensure that this unfair tax is abolished once and for all.”
Speaking to the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, George Osborne said: “I perfectly understand people’s anger at paying the tampon tax.
“I said we would get agreement that we could reduce this rate to zero. I think we are on the verge of getting that agreement. I think we are going to get that agreement in the next few days, we hope.”
A European Commission spokeswoman told the BBC: “The Commission is aware of discussions in the UK regarding VAT rates on sanitary products.
“EU VAT rules are not imposed by the European Commission. They are decided on and agreed unanimously by member states.
“Contrary to some media reports, tampons do benefit from reduced taxation.”