UPDATE: The issue of ‘Tampon Tax’ on sanitary products will be raised with the European Commission, a UK Treasury minister has said, after a petition calling for a change in the law has more than 250,000 signatures. This week Labour MP, Stella Creasy, refused to continue a debate with conservative MP Sir Bill Cash, after he could not bring himself to utter the word “tampon”, instead calling them “these products” throughout. Stella Creasy, MP for Walthamstow said she would not let Bill to interject again “unless he uses the term ‘sanitary towels and tampons’ because I think it’s really important in this house that we use the appropriate wording.” Currently sanitary products, including tampons are currently subject to a five per cent ‘luxury’ tax in the UK.
Much to our dismay, the French National Assembly has officially rejected the tampon VAT cuts.
Yep, we thought the UK was bad. While we pay a 5% tax on our sanitary goods (namely thanks to lobbying by Labour MP Dawn Primarolo), women in France will now continue having to shell out for a 20% tax.
The amendment to 5.5% was originally proposed by socialist MPs as a potential change to the 2016 budget, saying that as “basic needs”, tampons, towels and menstrual cups alike should all be taxed at the lowest possible rate (EU VAT law does not currently permit zero rate policies – boo!).
But yesterday morning, those in power officially rejected the change, saying it would reduce tax income by £40m come 2016.
The government also said the rejection was inevitable baring in mind the under-representation of women in the chamber.
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And just when we thought things couldn’t get any worse, France’s Secretary of State for the Budget took it upon himself to compare female sanitary buys to men’s shaving foam, stating that since a 20% tax still applies to the latter, tampons should be no different. He added that the debate was “passionate” but “not simple”.
Meanwhile, feminist group Georgette Sand said they “saw red” at the outcome.
Needless to say, the news has spurred similar fiery responses from the public – men and women included. In fact, it wasn’t long before #taxetampon began trending in Paris yesterday afternoon.
Joining in with Georgette Sand’s outrage at the vote, one user took to Twitter to say: “Wow, so I’m paying taxes on my uterus? So now when I have my period I have to pay socially, physically and financially?”
Another added: “You have to ask who is pulling strings at the National Assembly.”
One thing’s for sure, we’re not giving up.