Britain Abolishes “Sexist” Tax on Female Hygiene Merchandise – WSVN 7News | St John Information, Climate, Sports activities
LONDON (AP) – Great Britain became the youngest country on Friday to abolish the so-called “tampon tax” and the sales tax on feminine hygiene products.
The move received broad praise from both women’s rights activists and supporters of the country’s exit from the European Union.
Finance chief Rishi Sunak had pledged to end the largely unpopular tax on tampons and pads on his budget in March, but the change didn’t take effect until Friday after Britain finally left the European Union’s economic orbit.
Under EU law, states cannot lower the VAT rate on menstrual products below 5% as they are considered luxury goods, not essential. Ireland is the only EU country that does not levy a levy on sanitary products as the zero tax rate was set before the EU was established.
“Sanitary products are essential, so it is right not to charge VAT,” said Sunak. “We have already introduced free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals, and this commitment brings us one step closer to making them available and affordable to all women.”
The UK officially left the bloc’s vast internal market for people, goods and services at 11 p.m. London time on Thursday to give more leeway to setting its own laws. A new trade deal between the UK and the EU will bring new restrictions and bureaucracy, but for UK Brexit supporters, it means regaining national independence from the EU and its rules. They pointed to the abolition of the tampon tax as an early positive change from Brexit.
The UK Treasury Department previously estimated that moving will save the average woman nearly £ 40 ($ 55) over the course of her life.
“It has been a long way to get to that point, but finally the sexist tax, which classified sanitary ware as non-essential luxuries, can finally be written in the history books,” said Felicia Willow, director of the Fawcett Society, a women’s rights charity.
Many other countries have also abolished the tampon tax, including Australia, Canada, and India. In the United States, several states, including New York and Florida, have also abolished the tax.
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