Kate Osamor MP voted to abolish the ‘tampon tax’ in the House of Commons.
The amendment to the Finance Bill was called after a petition titled ‘Stop Taxing Periods. Period’ reached 252,820 public signatories. It proposed to reduce the 5% tax currently imposed on tampons on EU law to 0%, given that tampons are a vital healthcare product for many women. Since 1972 when EU VAT legislation was introduced, tampons have been labelled a ‘luxury’ item. Until 2000, tampons were taxed at 17.5%.
The amendment was voted down by 305 to 287 votes.
Speaking on the subject, Kate Osamor says:
“I oppose the tampon tax because it is an outdated and unfair tax on an essential product for many women. It is time to reverse a decision that was made in 1972, and to change the way that we tax a product essential to women’s hygiene. I believe that, as a healthcare product, there is grounds for arguing for its exemption from EU laws on VAT.
I recognise there are barriers in place to immediately scrapping the tax. However, I was disappointed that the amendment was voted down. Only three Conservative MPs broke the party line and supported the motion.
Menstruation is still taboo in this country and the Conservative government have shown their unwillingness to push for change on this issue. This is not the last we will hear of the ‘tampon tax’ and I will continue to stand against it”.
The list of products with zero-VAT is out of date with contemporary needs, and includes jaffa cakes amongst other items. Tampons are already an expensive product without having added VAT. A study from earlier this year showed that women spend up to £18,000 on their period in their lifetime.