London: As a part of wider government actions to end period poverty, the UK government has announced that from January 1, 2021, value-added tax (VAT) no longer applies to women`s sanitary products.
The move “honours a government commitment to scrap the tax and is part of a wider strategy to make sanitary products affordable and available for all women”, including the rollout of free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals, Xinhua news agency quoted the Treasury as saying in a statement on Saturday.
As the Brexit transition period ended on December 31, 2020, the UK is no longer “bound by the EU VAT Directive which mandates a minimum 5 per cent tax on all sanitary products”, said the Treasury.
The government move was hailed by Felicia Willow, chief executive of the Fawcett Society, which is a UK charity campaigning for gender equality and women`s rights.
“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,” said Willow.
The UK ended its EU membership on January 31, 2020, four and half years after the country voted to leave the regional bloc.
The EU and Britain announced on December 24, 2020, that they had reached an agreement that will govern their trade and security relationship starting from January 1, 2021, after the end of the Brexit transition period.
The deal, which came after nine months of arduous negotiations between the UK and the EU, is the biggest bilateral trade deal signed by either side, covering trade worth around 668 billion pounds ($913 billion).