Jan 1, 2021 - Politics & Policy

U.K. abolishes tax on menstrual products

The Union Jack in front of Elizabeth Tower in 2017.
Photo: Jack Taylor/Getty Images

The United Kingdom's abolishment of a tax on menstrual products goes in effect today, according to a release from the government.

Why it matters: The repeal is among the first acts the U.K. is taking as part of its formal separation from the European Union because EU law prevents member nations from reducing the value-added tax on menstrual products below 5% because they are considered "luxury items."

What they're saying: “Sanitary products are essential, so it’s right that we do not charge VAT,” Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak said.

  • “We have already rolled out free sanitary products in schools, colleges and hospitals and this commitment takes us another step closer to making them available and affordable for all women.”

The big picture: Other countries, including Australia, Canada and India, have also repealed their taxes on such products.

Of note: Ireland is the only EU nation that does not tax menstrual products because it did not have a tax in place when the EU set its tax rate floor, according to AP.

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