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We don’t need to leave the EU to scrap the tampon tax

by Sam Ashworth-Hayes | 18.11.2019

Claim: “We’ll be able to cut VAT on things that we currently can’t under EU rules – sanitary products, you name it.”

Boris Johnson, BBC, Nov 15

InFact: In 2016 the UK won a promise from the EU to be able to scrap the current 5% VAT on sanitary products. At that point, our government thought the new system would be in place by April 2017. 

After the referendum, we lost most of our influence in the EU and the timetable slipped. The government used its limited political capital for other things. There is “no sign that the current Tory government has pushed the issue [of the tampon tax] in Brexit talks,” Labour MP Paula Sherriff said last year.

But the European Commission still published proposals covering the abolition of the tampon tax in 2018. Although the earliest date for implementation is January 2022, that’s just one year after the end of the “transition period” agreed by Boris Johnson – which he might end up extending anyway.

The economic costs of Brexit would be a high price to pay for a few extra months with the zero rate – particularly when that would leave more women struggling to make ends meet. Far better to stay in the EU and push for faster reform.

Edited by Hugo Dixon

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2 Responses to “We don’t need to leave the EU to scrap the tampon tax”

  • One more disgraceful ” one liner ” from this man who seems to think solely in terms appropriate for the headlines in the popular press. I sometimes wonder whether BJ thinks he is on the stage rather than in 10 Downing Street. How did this man achieve this position ? That surely is a question which should worry us all greatly because he is demonstrably unfit for this office yet he is there.

  • Q) Why didn’t the BBC call him out on this patent lie?

    A) The BBC is either incompetent or is pro-Brexit biased. Take your pick. In the meantime they do appear to do good business on the Continent; three channels in The Netherlands alone.