Women across the UK to save almost £46m a year once tampon tax is scrapped

Abigail Fenton
·2-min read
The UK government plans to abolish the tampon tax as early as January. Photo: Josefin/Unsplash
The UK government plans to abolish the tampon tax as early as January. Photo: Josefin/Unsplash

Plans to scrap the tampon tax once the UK has left the EU could save women across the nation £46m ($61m) a year, according to a study.

The average woman in the UK spends £55.80 a year on menstrual products, with the current 5% tax equating to about £2.79, according to research by period care company Yoppie.

With 16.432 million women in the UK who fall within the menstruation age bracket, most of whom will be paying this £2.79 tax, this adds up to a massive £45.8m every year. However, this could be about to change.

EU law defines tampons and sanitary towels as “luxury” items, meaning tax on them can not be lower than 5% – something various activists, individuals, groups and even companies have been campaigning against for years.

READ MORE: Six best, easy-to-use tampons for beginners

However, the UK will abolish the tax, possibly as soon as January, once the UK's withdrawal from the EU is finalised, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in the March budget.

The UK already currently charges the lowest rate of tax possible, along with Cyprus. It will now follow Ireland and Malta – the only two countries to have completely scrapped the tax.

Hungary is home to the worst rate of tampon tax, with VAT charged at a huge 27%. And Croatia, Denmark and Sweden all have a tampon tax threshold of 25%.

Meanwhile, Finland, Italy, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania and Bulgaria have a tampon tax of between 20% to 24%.

READ MORE: Eight things you probably didn't know about the history of the tampon

And in Romania, Luxembourg, Greece, Austria, Slovakia and Spain, the rate of VAT charged on period care products sits between 10% and 19%.

“The sheer existence of a tampon tax based on the notion that period products are luxury items is quite frankly insulting to women and the scrapping of this tax in the UK is long overdue,” said Yoppie founder Daniella Peri.

While the scrapping marks a “very positive step forward” for the UK, women in many other EU nations and countries around the world are still “forced to pay huge rates of tax to secure the vital care they need each and every month,” Peri said.

She said: “Women already face the tough task of finding the right products to suit their personal needs, and to force them to pay above and beyond what is required makes no sense at all.”

WATCH: 67% of women say taxing period products is sexist