Matt Warman, MP for Boston and Skegness, has welcomed the Government’s commitment to push for an end to taxing sanitary products.
Sanitary products are currently charged at 5 per cent VAT, the lowest allowed under EU law, but Ministers have stated that they sympathise with campaigners calling for them to be tax-free and have secured agreement from Brussels to look at the taxation level.
An amendment to the Finance Bill, which called for the Treasury to publish a strategy within three months for negotiating a VAT exemption for sanitary products was rejected after the Government committed to raise the matter with the European Commission and other EU states, making clear its belief that countries should be able to apply a zero-rate to such products. Agreement on the matter ranged not just across the whole House of Commons, but already also includes the French Government, who put changing the tax rate in their manifesto but have yet to secure action.
Matt said, ‘Everyone agrees that tampons and sanitary pads are essential items that shouldn’t be taxed. But the taxes on them are set by Brussels and a vote on it in connection to the Finance Bill would have been a cheap political gesture with no prospect of changing anything. Indeed, I sat on the Finance Bill committee and Labour made no mention of it as we scrutinised the legislation line by line.
‘The Government has now secured European agreement to examine this important issue, so I welcome the much more real hope of progress in the future – as well as this chance to explain where power truly lies on some issues of VAT.’