Tampon Tax Abolished In England From Today To End Period Poverty

by : Niamh Shackleton on :
Tampon Tax Abolished In England From Today To End Period PovertyPexels/PA

The tampon tax is to officially be abolished in England from today, January 1.

There had been a 5% tax on packets of tampons as they were classed as ‘non-essential’, but this has now been slashed to zero.


The move comes after a 20-year campaign calling to end the additional tax on sanitary products, which many had branded as ‘sexist’.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak had committed to ending the tax in the budget released back in March 2020.


Discussing the new tax rules around the essential sanitary product, Sunak said, as per Metro Online, ‘I’m proud that we are today delivering on our promise to scrap the tampon tax. Sanitary products are essential so it’s right that we do not charge VAT.’


He continued:

We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women.

Two decades ago, there was a 17.5% tax on tampons, but this was reduced to 5% after a campaign by Labour MP Dawn Primarolo.

In regards to why the UK government hadn’t brought down the tax rates sooner, it argued that EU rules would not allow it to drop it any further than the previous 5%.


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It’s thought that the new rules will save the average woman around £40 over her lifetime, with a reduction of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on 12 pads.

While £40 doesn’t sound like a lot, many activists have applauded the change and believe it’s a step towards tackling sexism.

Felicia Willow, chief executive of women’s rights charity the Fawcett Society, told BBC News, ‘It’s been a long road to reach this point, but at last the sexist tax that saw sanitary products classed as non-essential, luxury items can be consigned to the history books.’


While free sanitary products have been available in schools, colleges and hospitals in England as of early 2020, in November Scotland became the first every country to provide free universal sanitary products in a bid to end period poverty.

The bill, named The Sanitary Products [Free Provision], will give people in Scotland the legal right to freely access sanitary products in various public buildings, including schools and workplaces.

Scotland has been leading the way to end period poverty for quite some time, having made free sanitary products available in schools, colleges and universities two years ago.


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Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Health, england, News, Now, Rishi Sunak, Sanitary Products


Metro Online and 1 other
  1. Metro Online

    Tampon tax scrapped from today after 20 year campaign

  2. BBC

    Activists cheer as 'sexist' tampon tax is scrapped