This week the house of commons voted that the tax on sanitary products such as tampons and sanitary towels will not be repealed, meaning that they are still to be taxed at 5% and classed as non-essential or a "luxury". That's right 305 MPs, almost 3/4 of which male, decided that periods are an opt-in service that we should still be paying tax on, however their "essential" items such as helicopters, jelly shots, pitta bread and crocodile steaks are not taxed.
Now I know that to some this might seem silly that women are fighting for tampons but lets put it into perspective:
- Tampons and pads are priced between £1.50 and £4
- We are advised to change tampons/pads every 4 hours, otherwise its "unsanitary"
- Thats 6 pads/tampons every day and for a period lasting 4-6 days it adds up to 24-36 pads/tampons
- so each period costs around £3.50 a month at the minimum (for some it could be double).
- Thats around £45 a year
- On average people will get periods for 39 years, that's around £1,700 minimum we will spend on something we can't help.
We are now debating the tampon tax - I say tampon tax..we are trying to help bill cash learn to say tampon and not 'product' ...;-)— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) October 26, 2015
For someone who can afford it that doesn't seem like much, but what about homeless people who have to choose between a hot meal or tampons? I know which I'd choose. And when condoms are given out freely via family planning and the NHS, why aren't tampons?
And I'm not going to let it slide that 265 of the 305 no voters were men, who will never experience this monthly luxury. For too long have women's reproductive rights fell into the hands of men, when if it was the other way around we all know sanitary items would be free. But no this is a tax aimed elusively at those with vaginas, and no there aren't any "male only taxes", especially not trousers.
Anyone who has had a period knows that our monthly red wedding is not a luxury (unless you class the massive box of untaxed jaffa cakes I want to devour), and it's time this changed.
For other great blog posts on the tampon tax check out Ginger Girl Says and Cattitude & Co.