Chancellor pays tribute to former Labour MP’s campaign as he scraps tampon tax

The government has confirmed it is abolishing the 5% VAT charged on women's sanitary products during the Budget, with a zero rate of VAT applying from the start of next year.

The Treasury estimates the move will save the average woman nearly £40 over her lifetime, with a cut of 7p on a pack of 20 tampons and 5p on 12 pads.

Announcing the change, Chancellor Rishi Sunak paid tribute to former Labour MP Paula Sherriff who campaigned against period poverty.

Labour MP Wes Streeting praised Mr Sunak for acknowledging the work of his former colleague.

He tweeted: "Very good of  Rishi Sunak to pay tribute to Paula Sherriff's leadership on the tampon tax. The first opposition backbencher to successfully amend a government budget – and still making an impact on public policy. A lot of organisations could learn from her campaigning savvy…"

Since 2015 the money raised by the hated charge on tampons and sanitary towels, which couldn't be abolished while the UK was in the EU, has been used to fund a charity pot for women's groups.

Since its creation, £62million has been awarded by the fund to projects that help disadvantaged and vulnerable women across the UK.

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  • Period poverty forcing millions of young girls to miss after-school clubs

Campaigners have urged the government to continue to pay back the money women have poured into government coffers.

Women's Resource Centre CEO Vivienne Hayes told the Mirror she was "over the moon" with the proposed change but called on Boris Johnson to "pay back the Tampon Tax".

She said: "Tampons and sanitary towels were never luxury items and should never have been subject to VAT."

Now we want to see the estimated £700 million collected through this tax paid back to women’s charities as promised."

With International Women’s Day around the corner what a great way to celebrate, honour and support millions of women this would be." Labour Women's Network chair Abena Oppong-Asare also welcomed the move – but wanted to see the funding pot for charities protected.

The Erith and Thamesmead MP said: "Although it is good to see that the government has finally realised that sanitary products are not a ‘luxury item’ and therefore should not be taxed, it would be even better if they could commit to retaining the funding for the Tampon Tax Community Fund.

"This fund is already oversubscribed, with the enormous demand for funding. I would like to see this money being ring-fenced for future generations."

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