BOROUGH MPs Caroline Spelman and Julian Knight support a campaign to abolish the controversial ‘tampon tax’.
This is despite having voted against a motion to demand EU action as it is ‘simply not within the ability of the UK Government to negotiate or enforce a zero-rated VAT on sanitary products’.
MPs voted 305 to 287 against the Finance Bill New Clause 7 which called for the Chancellor of the Exchequer to set out his intent to force a negotiation with the EU to abolish the five per cent VAT rate on the ‘non-essential luxury items’.
The Conservative Government has, however, raised the issue with the European Commisssion and other member states, setting out its view that it should be possible for a member state to apply a zero rate on sanitary products.
It is hoped the more friendly approach will result in a better reception for the idea.
In 2000, the VAT on tampons and sanitary towels fell from 17.5 per cent to five per cent, the lowest rate the UK can set on any item without the approval of the 28 other EU countries, and the Commission.
Currently they are subject to EU tax because they are considered ‘non-essential luxury items’ and would require the backing of the 28 Euro countries for this tax level to be dropped.
Mrs Spelman said: “I support the campaign to obtain a zero-rating of VAT on women’s sanitary products as I believe this tax is wholly unfair.
“I am pleased this is an issue the EU vice-president has agreed to look at.”
Mr Knight said the UK had more products at a zero-rate of VAT than many other EU countries.
He added: “I support the campaign for sanitary products to be zero-rated for VAT and do not see them as ‘luxury’ items.
“My vote was cast to support the Government which told the House of Commons it would seek to negotiate with the 28 EU member states and the Commission.”