Saturday, 7 November 2015

Debate: The Tampon Tax

Did you know ever since we join the European Commission in 1973 you've been paying tax on your sanitary towels and tampons?

Neither did I. Only recently has it become main stream news that not only are sanitary towels and tampons  are categorised as "luxury items" but also child car seats, radiators and mobility aids aren't seen as an essential item and need to be taxed by at least 5%. Even worse, before Gordon Brown's famous tax cutting schemes in 2001 for the Labour party, women were paying a full 17.5% tax on their "luxury" sanitary items, something that is essential for all women.

Last week a vote to cut tax against tampons was defeated by 305 votes to 287 - and I wonder which majority gender voted against the tax cut? Male. MP Jess Philips recently did this speech in the commons which I recommend listening to, which highlights the inequality of this tax. Because apparently having a period every month, is considered a "luxury" although I'm not sure all women would quite say their monthly reminded is that nice to them.

"The fact that we still have this tax is no small part down to the fact that most people in this house and in our sister Parliaments all across the EU don't have wombs" MP Jess Philips
Yes the current rate is lowest according to EU law and yes we're paying less tax than other countries, but that still doesn't make it right. Women need these essential items every month, there's no questioning that at all and it's not right women are being taxed on such a thing.

Men's razors, crocodile meat and Jaffa Cakes on the other hand are not taxed on at all, therefore considered an essential item. Not too sure when my last crocodile meat dinner was exactly. However, in order to lift this 5% tax on sanitary items it would need all 28 EU members to agree on; something which most newsreaders know is tricky.

Personally, I still believe there are not enough women MPs to tackle this all traditional male government and anything like this which is raised in the House Of Commons hasn't got a great chance of getting to the other side. Do I think we should be taxed on our sanitary products and tampons? No. Do I think we'll eventually be taxed free on them? Possibly, but there needs to be a major shift in gender representation and education within the government and also across the UK.

Join over 260,000 signatures on the Stop Taxing Periods. Period. petition here.

What's your opinion on the tampon tax? Do you think the government will lift it?

Thanks for reading!
Rhiannon x

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