The UK has finally decided to scrap the tampon tax. Period.
Bridie Adams celebrates the United Kingdom’s long-overdue decision to no longer tax period products
After countless campaigns and complaints, the UK is finally planning to abolish tampon tax. Following in the footsteps of many other countries around the world, this removal of the tax will undoubtedly have a positive impact on a huge scale, with period products becoming much more accessible. As recently more and more awareness is being drawn to the issue of people who have periods being unable to access tampons, period pads, menstrual cups and other feminine hygiene products, the removal of tampon tax is definitely a step in the right direction when it comes to resolving the ongoing issue of period poverty.
For those who are not acquainted with the term, ‘tampon tax’ refers to the value-added tax or sales tax added to feminine hygiene products. For years, tampon tax has been criticized as sexist and inconsiderate towards those who have periods, as other basic products which are considered as necessities are exempt from tax. Now, finally, it looks as though the UK government is going to eradicate tampon tax, making period products more affordable and accessible.
However, Britain is a little bit late to the party. Many other countries around the world have already abolished the tampon tax. Although the UK government does seem to be working to combat period poverty, with sanitary products being available freely in schools for young people to access, the question is raised of why it has taken so long to alleviate the tampon tax. But despite the obvious delay in resolving the issue of period poverty, it is extremely positive to see the government working to help this issue now. With Scotland set to start providing menstrual products completely free, it is encouraging to see the potential end of the stigma around periods, such a natural and healthy bodily function for female bodies, in sight.
It could, in fact, be argued that the end of tampon tax is one of the most positive products of Brexit, with these changes set to come into place when the UK has completely left the EU, whenever that may end up being. Rose Caldwell, CEO of Plan International UK has said that the “scrapping of the tampon tax is a landmark moment in the fight against period poverty, and it comes not a moment too soon”. Indeed, many people are sure to be happy about this change, and hopefully the only way is up from here when it comes to further combating period poverty and the accessibility of menstrual products like tampons.