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In news that will be music to the ears of women up and down the country, The Chancellor of the Exchequer has today announced that tampon tax is officially coming to an end.
While delivering the 2020 budget on Wednesday, Rishi Sunak said that the tax would be abolished by the end of the year, coming into effect on January 1st 2021.
The move comes after taxing period products as a luxury product has been widely criticised for years, due to the fact it essentially penalises women for purchasing products they need.
The government currently tax 5 per cent VAT on all sanitary products, and has done for the last 50 years.
But the zero rate will finally come into effect at the start of next year, after the UK's transition period for leaving the EU comes to an end.
It's is expected that, on average, it will save women almost £40 over their lifetime, saving them 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on a pack of 12 pads.
Rishi Sunak promised today: "From January next year, there will be no VAT whatsoever on women's sanitary products. I congratulate all members and right honourable members who campaigned for this"
Since it begun, thousands of women (and men) in the UK have fought and campaigned to have tampon tax abolished, rightly branding it "sexist" and "outdated".
They were nearly victorious back in 2016, when the treasury pledged to scrap the tampon tax after the 'Stop Taxing Periods' campaign.
But the promise fell by the wayside after the government failed to change EU law.
One of the main campaigners in recent years has been 20-year-old Amika George, who runs the 'Free Periods' campaign battling for this very issue.
"We cannot be equal whilst women and others who menstruate are held back simply because of their periods," she said on social media ahead of the pledge. "Everyone should be educated about menstruation. Everyone should feel able to talk about periods, without stigma or shame".
Praising the government for the decision, Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK, said: "Today's scrapping of the tampon tax is a landmark moment in the fight against period poverty, and it comes not a moment too soon".
"We hope that as it scraps the tax, the government will continue to invest in schemes that smash the stigma surrounding periods and improve period education in schools.
"Only in this way will we put an end to period poverty and stigma once and for all."
Meanwhile, Vivienne Hayes, chief executive of the Women's Resource Centre charity, added: "This is a great small step in the right direction. Now let's see the £700 million collected from women going back to where it was promised - women's health and support charities.
"Given the fact that women's health and support charities save the government approximately half a billion pounds every year, that's a whopping £20 billion in the time that £700 million was collected in VAT. So we think it is only fair we get that debt paid back to our life saving charities."
About bloody time, we say.
Featured Image Credit: PA
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