At last! After years of pressure from period poverty campaigners, the sexist tampon tax has finally been abolished.
From today, 1 January 2021, 5% VAT will no longer to apply to sanitary products.
Scrapping the tax will save you an average of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on a pack of 12 pads. It's estimated that the average person who menstruates will save around £40 in their lifetime.
"We warmly welcome the scrapping of VAT on all sanitary products from 1 January 2021 and congratulate the government on taking this positive step," Felicia Willow of the Fawcett Society said today.
"It’s been a long road to reach this point, but at last the sexist tax that saw sanitary products classed as non-essential, luxury items can be consigned to the history books."
In March, the government announced plans to scrap the tampon tax on 1 January 2021 when the UK officially left the EU. Until this happened, the UK was bound by EU law requiring tampons and sanitary towels to be treated as "non-essential" items and taxed at 5%.
Laura Coryton, who launched the #EndTamponTax campaign in 2014, told Refinery29: "We’ve been campaigning for seven years to end tampon tax and today, it’s finally happened! Period products are no longer taxed as 'luxury' goods. The axing of this tax is important because it marks the end of a sexist policy.
"It also helps to challenge the period taboo and widen access of period products, which has held so many people back, including the 30% of girls who have struggled to access period products during lockdown."
Since 2015, the highly controversial tampon tax has been distributed among women's charities, but it hasn't always been allocated with due care and attention. In 2017, it emerged that a portion of the tampon tax was being awarded to an anti-abortion charity.
The government said today that "the Tampon Tax Fund will continue to provide funding for projects supporting vulnerable women and girls", adding: "Successful applicants to the £15 million funding for 2020/21 were announced last month."
However, it did not specify whether it intends to plug the £15 million funding gap once the Tampon Tax Fund dries up.
Gemma Abbott of the Free Periods campaign tweeted: "Interested to see a statement that 'the Tampon Tax Fund will continue to provide funding for projects supporting vulnerable women and girls'. This ring-fencing has been a tiny silver lining to the insult of being told your tampon is a luxury - will dedicated funding continue?"
One region of the UK has already implemented an even more significant measure in a bid to end period poverty. In November, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free.
After MSPs passed the Period Products (Free Provision) (Scotland) Bill), local authorities now have a legal duty to ensure that free tampons and sanitary pads are available to "anyone who needs them".