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Supermarket becomes first of the bug four to cover “unfair” tampon tax

Tesco have become the first supermarket to cover the “tampon tax” – allowing millions of customers to take advantage of tax-free sanitary products.

Nearly one hundred items are considered “luxuries” under current taxation rules – meaning inflated prices on products, which most women cannot live, a normal day-to-day life without.

Speaking to the Metro, Michelle McEttrick, the group brand director for Tesco, says, “For many customers, tampons, panty liners and sanitary towels are essential products.

‘However, the cost of buying them every month can add up and for many women and girls, it can be a real struggle on top of other essential items.

‘That’s why – as a little help for our customers – we are reducing the cost of these products by 5%.’

Which means that current products will fall to under £2. The saving will be about 10-15p per item.

The charity, Freedom4Girls, released data demonstrating “period poverty” – the growing number of young women who, unable to afford proper sanitary products, were resorting to using socks. Their attendance records at school were affected as a result.

What is tampon tax?

When the UK joined the European Union in 1973, they signed up to a raft of new tax laws, some of which included the taxation of sanitary products at 17.5%.

While this was reduced to 5% in 2000, the problem is that it is very difficult to get rid of tax once it has been signed under EU law. In order for it to take place, all 28 countries that make up the common market must vote.

Ireland is the only member of the EU whose current tampon tax stands at 0%. This is because they didn’t tax these items when they joined and were allowed to keep it that way.

It’s all part of the strange world of tax – a world where tampons are taxed and Jaffa Cakes aren’t.

Whether it’s a bold PR move or a philanthropic statement from Tesco, we’re unsure. But it might be the beginning of a turning of the (crimson) tide for this most unfair of taxes.