Why I’m not cheering for scrapping the “tampon tax”

Content warning: this post discusses Tories and menstruation

It looks like the “tampon tax”–the VAT paid on sanitary products–is going away at last. Hypothetically, this should be something to celebrate, but in my role as miserable killjoy bitch, I’m not cheering. I’m not cheering, because I have some concerns, and they’re pretty fucking big ones.

In Wednesday’s budget announcement, the sadly-not-on-fire George Osborne made a very crude attempt to appeal to women by saying that revenue raised from the tampon tax would go to women’s organisations (despite menstruation not just being “a women’s issue”!)

Less than 36 hours later, suddenly we’re hearing that the tampon tax is being scrapped. So, does this mean that there’ll less money for women’s organisations and services than initially budgeted-for? If the removal of the tampon tax comes in with immediate effect, that’s exactly what it would mean. If it’s going to be a while before it comes it, that’s little better: it just means there’ll be a funding black hole for where there was once a kitty for women’s organisations and services, there no longer is one. In other words, it’s not a problem right now, but it will be in the near future.

Either way, rather than something to cheer about, this is simply something that this Tory government are doing very well: moving money away from the public purse and putting it into private hands. Last night, I made a prediction, and I want to go on record with this prediction and spread it far and wide as possible, so I can at least feel a burn of smugness about being proved right while the world fucking burns.

I seriously doubt that the reduction in VAT will pass on to people who need to purchase sanitary products. Sellers know that people are used to paying a certain amount for tampons, etc. They make the occasional special offers, and so forth, and maybe they’ll even temporarily reduce the price when the tampon tax is scrapped, but within a few months, we’ll all be paying the same we always paid for sanitary products, except now that additional 5% is lining private pockets.

So ultimately, there is nothing to cheer about with the abolition of the tampon tax. It’s a PR exercise, nothing more, nothing less. We’re meant to be happy for David Cameron for Being On The Side Of Women while simultaneously Getting A Better Deal For Britain In Europe, but fuck him with a large pike. His government is killing women, and nominally knocking 5% off of a product that is already a massive rip-off does nothing to alleviate that

5 thoughts on “Why I’m not cheering for scrapping the “tampon tax””

    1. Absofuckinglutely. imo sanitary products should be available for free. Or everyone should get over squeamishness about Evil Taboo Vagina Blood. Either way, something’s got to give.

  1. Russell Howard did a piece on this last year, and said that they were taxed as they were a “luxury item”. He then revealed a list of other luxury and non luxury items and it was just ridiculous. I’ve heard this week that the EU is being blamed for this for some reason. It’s a medical usage item, therefore should be treated as any other medical usage item and be zero rated for vat. I think the vat is only 5% on them, but that’s really not the point.

  2. I understand how some may call this a luxury item bc there are 3rd world countries where wine go without proper sanitary products. However, in this day and age and in the culture and atmosphere in which I live in, there just wouldn’t be a way to go without. I think there’s a very tight stigma about periods. I am one who keeps it a private matter but I also feel that it shouldn’t be taboo or perceived as nasty. All women (with the exception of those who are not at the age or medical reasons) have periods and always have. This isn’t some new phase we decided on, it’s always happened. Grow up, move on and stand up for what’s right.

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