MPs voted against dropping the tax on tampons in the House of Commons last night.
Currently, tampons and sanitary towels are taxed at the rate of ‘non-essential’ items – which means we pay 5% with every packet. Interestingly, men’s razors, incontinence pads, crocodile stakes, edible sugar flowers and helicopters are all exempt from UK tax.
The rate is set by the EU, and a petition had been signed by almost 253,000 people, asking that the UK government negotiate a drop in the tax.
Despite a Conservative rebellion led by MP Paula Sherriff, who suggested the amendment to the finance bill which would see negotiation take place, 305 MPs voted against, whilst 287 voted in favour.
Prime Minister David Cameron argues that once raised with the EU, all 28 member states would need to be in agreement that the tax should be dropped and he didn’t think that would be likely.
The prime minister’s spokeswoman said: “What is being proposed is not something that being looked at we think is achievable.”
Those petitioning for the abolition of the tax say that only men could consider tampons ‘non-essential’ – and there was some amusement over Conservative MP Sir William Cash’s seeming inability to utter the word.
The Independent reported that after Cash refereed to “these products” multiple times, Stella Creasy, the Labour MP for Walthamstow: “eventually told Mr Cash she would not give way to him to speak again ‘unless he uses the term sanitary towels and tampons’.”
She later joked on twitter:
Ah we managed to get bill cash to say tampon on the record – who says progress isn’t possible! #Tampontax
— stellacreasy (@stellacreasy) October 26, 2015
Those petitioning for the tax abolition were clearly frustrated – our favourite tweet referred to the luxury, non-essential status of tampons via a satirical image: