Stevenage friends’ delight at decision to scrap ‘tampon tax’

Sanya Masood and Sophie Harrold have been campaigning for 'tampon tax' to be scrapped and have been

Sanya Masood and Sophie Harrold have been campaigning for 'tampon tax' to be scrapped and have been collecting sanitary products for women in need. - Credit: Archant

Two friends who have been campaigning to remove women’s sanitary products from VAT are delighted a deal has been reached to scrap ‘tampon tax’.

Sanya Masood and Sophie Harrold, who both live in Stevenage, were among 300,000 people who signed a petition asking for sanitary products to be made exempt from VAT.

Tax on sanitary products is currently charged at five per cent - the lowest rate allowed under EU law.

However, in light of public opinion on the matter, Prime Minister David Cameron raised the issue at the European Council summit in Brussels last week.

The 28 leaders agreed a statement welcoming “the intention of the Commission to include proposals for increased flexibility for member states with respect to reduced rates of VAT, which will provide the option to member states of VAT zero-rating sanitary products”.

Eurosceptics keen to assert Britain’s power to set its own VAT rates had been using tampon tax to illustrate the lack of control the UK has over its own finances.

Sanya, of Turner Close, said: “We are absolutely thrilled they have finally decided to scrap the unfair ‘tampon tax’ and are very proud of the campaign we and many other groups have run to achieve this. We hope this will signal a step forward in creating a more gender equal society.”

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The East of England MEP and Conservative consumer rights spokesman, Vicky Ford, said: “These products are essentials and not luxuries and never should have had VAT imposed on them in first place. Common sense has prevailed.”

She added: “This should be the start of a much wider reform of VAT as there are other areas where the full rate of VAT shouldn’t be applied, including energy saving products.”

Sanya and Sophie are also fighting to get the Government to give homeless shelters an allowance to buy sanitary products, and the pair collect and distribute sanitary towels and tampons to women in need.

They are currently collecting sanitary products to give to the Stevenage Women’s Refuge, which supports women and children who are fleeing domestic violence and abuse.

To support Sanya and Sophie’s collection, until Sunday, visit their Facebook page A Bloody Good Cause or email