Abolishing tampon tax 'long overdue' declares activist

3 January 2021, 16:14 | Updated: 3 January 2021, 16:16

By Seán Hickey

Although the abolition of the 'tampon tax' has been a long time coming, it may have come sooner if it wasn't for Brexit.

Gemma Abbott is an activist and the director of the Free Periods campaign and spoke to Natasha Devon following the news that Britain would scrap VAT on female sanitary products which it can now do as a result of Brexit.

Natasha wondered if it is "because we've left the EU that we're able to do this?" Ms Abbott explained the situation is more complicated.

She acknowledged that although "the EU's current legislation would not allow the UK to zero rate VAT products" there had already been dialogue in Brussels allowing for such legislation to come into place.

She explained that because of a push to reform the EU VAT system in 2018, period products were being set up to be taken off the list of taxed products.

"The reason that hasn't been implemented," she said, is because of "the enormous distraction of Brexit."

Natasha was shocked: "If we hadn't kickstarted Brexit, people who menstruate across the continent could have had no tampon tax?"

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"How could they possibly justify taxing sanitary products as a luxury item for so long?" Natasha wondered.

Ms Abbott insisted it was "a very good question."

She said that the tax itself is "just absurd and it has no place in a society that wants genuine gender equality."

She welcomed the move and branded it "long overdue."