Rishi Sunak, Chancellor of the Exchequer, is expected to make the announcement in the 2020 Budget this week, which means the surcharge to women’s sanitary products will no longer apply when the UK’s transition period for leaving the EU ends on December 31st.
The government has said that it will announce the end of tampon tax in Wednesday’s budget.
The current levy means that tampons, sanitary pads, and mooncups are viewed as ‘luxury’ items rather than essentials, and are therefore subjected to 5% tax.
The zero rate will come into effect on January 1st, the first day when EU laws no longer apply to the UK. This will reportedly save the average woman almost £40 over their lifetime – with a tax cut of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on a pack of 12 pads.
It’s undoubtedly a huge achievement in the fight to end period poverty, particularly since the treasury promised to scrap the tampon tax back in 2016 after the viral success of the ‘Stop Taxing Periods’ campaign – but didn’t, failing to change EU laws. Instead, then-chancellor George Osborne announced that the funds raised by VAT on sanitary products would be donated to charities that aid vulnerable women. More than £62 million has been allocated since 2015.
The concern now is: how will the government replace those vital funds raised for women’s charities without the tax?
“Congratulations to all the women who campaigned so long for this ridiculous and unfair tax to be removed,” said Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women’s Resource Centre charity. “We are concerned that the tampon tax fund will now be abandoned by the government and we hope to see a replacement fund for women’s health and support charities announced in the near future.”
Campaigners also called on Boris Johnson to donate the estimated £700 million raised during the tax’s lifetime to women’s charities.
We back the tampon tax scrap 100% – we just hope the chancellor also announces plans to replace the funds which help support women in need around the world in Wednesday’s budget.