Tampon tax, the “luxury goods” tax placed on female sanitary products, has been the topic of much heated debate in recent months, and while the obvious solution is for the government to eradicate all such tax, a high street chain is at least setting a great example with its latest initiative.
As it stands under the current European regulations, all sanitary products carry 5 per cent VAT. This is because they are deemed luxury items rather than essentials — an incredibly strange decision considering women do not choose whether or not they wish to menstruate.
High street chain Superdrug recently announced a campaign that will give back that tax to customers by offering them points on their loyalty cards when they purchase a Superdrug brand of tampons or sanitary towels.
According to The Telegraph, customers will receive between three and 10 in-store loyalty points, with each point equalling a penny in store — a decision which most women (and even men) seem to be welcoming.
— Missfit (@iamamissfit) February 4, 2016
Superdrug is calling BS on tampon tax, coz there’s nothing more luxurious than bleeding from your vagina every month https://t.co/NXBlrL3lfp
— Ellen Stewart (@ellenRstewart) February 8, 2016
— Greg Ockwell (@Ock_word) February 6, 2016
Gemma Mason, Superdrug’s head of customer service, shed light on the company’s decision.
“We are hopeful that the rules will change in the future, until then we are delighted to give a little back to our customers”, she said.
Mason also compared the government’s decision to tax sanitary products as “behind”.
“It’s not like women choose to have periods. Britain is so far behind on this compared to some other countries”, she said. “I think when you look at what other products are classed as tax-free it’s actually scary to think sanitary products aren’t classed as such.
“Why is an exotic item like crocodile meat free from VAT but women are still paying additional costs on these vital products? They aren’t luxury items, they are essential and I think it is unfair women are being charged more”.
As previously reported, every year the Treasury takes £15 million in VAT from sanitary products, and Chancellor George Osborne has previously promised to do good with the money by giving it to women’s charities.