Just When You Thought UKIP Couldn’t Do Anything Right…


UKIP has pledged to end the ridiculous ‘Tampon Tax’.

Amongst a raft of General Election policies announced last week the party pledged to scrap the tax that currently sees women’s sanitary products taxed at 5% because under EU law they are deemed ‘non-essential’ and ‘luxury’ items (something anyone with a uterus will be quick to dispute). The pledge comes after suggestions were made of UKIP being hostile towards women and acts as a bid to win over potential female voters.

The importance of this pledge is not to be overlooked – granted it was muddled in with other policies such as an end to the no smoking ban in pubs – it remains a positive step out of the dark ages. And more than that, it is a policy that directly responds to public outcry. The first week of March saw protesters outside Downing Street crying for an end to the tax, and a change.org petition currently stands at 220,000 signatures and is growing daily. The tax is something that many protesters feel has been overlooked for too long as governments just do not seem interested in taking the time to pursue what is essentially a ‘period tax’ and seeing as these are hardly to be avoided people are calling the tax ‘institutionalised sexism’, which is quite damning fora government attempting to be modern and progressive.

To put things into perspective, whilst women’s sanitary products are taxed for being ‘non-essential’, here are some items that aren’t: crocodile meat, razors, edible sugar flowers and helicopters. Laura Croyton, the founder of the ‘Stop taxing Periods. Period’ petition to George Osbourne states sanitary products

‘are essential because without them, those who menstruate would have no way of pursuing a normal, flexible, public or private life and would be at risk of jeopardising their health’.

However, it cannot be ignored that the way UKIP plans to end the tax is by leaving the EU. Suzanne Evans, UKIP’s head of policy, said it was an “outdated and outrageous” tax on women. In a statement she wrote:

“No other party can pledge to take this simple step, as under EU rules no item that has ever had VAT charged on it can have VAT removed completely. ‘This shows not only how ridiculous EU legislation is, but how very wrong it is that we’ve given our tax sovereignty over to a bunch of faceless – and mostly male – EU Commissioners who simply don’t understand real life, let alone real life for women’.

Whilst the debate over Britain’s place in the EU lives on, this pledge by UKIP is undoubtedly a step forward for women’s rights and equality, and even if UKIP is not the best party to do it, the recognition that this pledge has received can hopefully only pave the way for other parties to follow suit and end this unnecessary and outdated tax on women.

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