We are damn brilliant if you don’t mind me saying so, and I’ll say it even if you mind me saying so. We’re even the SAME SPECIES. Fact.
Sexual discrimination is against the law (The Sex Discrimination Act, 1975).
So why is it the government discriminates against women and taxes period protection?
It’s taxed by VAT. VAT is value added tax and is applied to what we buy. There are several different rates and zero rate is for essential necessities. You know, food and children’s clothes and books. All 0% VAT. Chocolate is not 0% despite much belief that it is an essential food group. Next time you go shopping for food, have a look at your till receipt. All the VAT items have a star next to them.
According to the government, women have a choice whether our uteruses bleed every month. Period protection is not a necessity in the government’s view. We women have control over our DNA so says the government, so we can say ‘NO! I choose NOT to have a period this month. No, I say no! Go away Aunt Irma, go visit your uncle in parliament’.
Only, it doesn’t work like that does it? We can’t choose our DNA and we can’t choose whether we bleed.
I’m in the glorious position of having barely there periods since I started using the fabulous invention that is the IUD (do I hear a YAY! for contraception). I get pains sometimes, but it’s 0% VAT for ibuprofen from the chemist which is as it should be. It’s medicine which is necessity not luxury.
So, Her Majesty’s Government, why are you charging tax on products that are essential? Why are you charging VAT on period protection?
That’s HER Majesty’s government. Don’t go pretending it’s not you, as HMRC would change the rules if you changed the law. Or maybe we can have a legal test case? Any retailers want to challenge the VAT rating in law? Any QCs want to take the case pro bono (or for a reasonable fee?) It’s a great opportunity for a brand to start a campaign to get the VAT rating changed. Marks & Spencer did it with chocolate coated teacakes (read the legal judgment).
It is time this stopped. It is sexual discrimination and that has been illegal for 39 years.
If you want to rebel and pay 0% VAT on protecting your La Perla or M&S Value knicks, go indie. I changed to reusable last year and love it. You can buy them on Etsy and Folksy, or run some up yourself if you’re handy with a sewing machine. They’re comfortable, not at all icky, and the patterns on the fabric are as varied as your imagination. I have the half naked fireman for ‘Bring It On!’ days, the Grinch for ‘Get The Fuck Away From Me’ days, and cute pink pixies for ‘I Love My Sofa’ days. As reusables are made by tiny businesses, they don’t charge tax. Win win for everyone. Throw ’em in the wash and you’re sorted. AND NO TAX TO PAY.
So women, and men, write to your MP, buy reusable if that floats your boat, make a fuss, write to the retailers, tweet their brand accounts, email that discrimination lawyer you have in your address book.
It is time this discrimination stopped and all sanitary protection is 0% VAT rated.
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