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Sanitary Products: VAT

Women and Equalities – in the House of Commons at 9:30 am on 25th February 2016.

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Photo of Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Labour, Dewsbury 9:30 am, 25th February 2016

What progress the Government are making in negotiating the removal of VAT on women’s sanitary products.

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

The Financial Secretary to the Treasury has written to the European Commission and to other member states setting out our strong view that member states should have full discretion in regard to the rate of VAT that they can apply to these products, and that that should be considered in the context of the Commission’s action plan on VAT, which we expect to be published in March.

Photo of Paula Sherriff Paula Sherriff Labour, Dewsbury

Frankly, I think that many women throughout the country will be rather disappointed by the Minister’s response. Will she guarantee that the Prime Minister or the Chancellor will come to the House and make a statement once the Commission has responded to our request, so that the public know where we stand before the referendum?

Photo of Harriett Baldwin Harriett Baldwin The Economic Secretary to the Treasury

Of course, the Government do believe that this is something on which we want to take action. I am sure the hon. Lady will welcome the fact that the Chancellor has already announced a new £15 million annual fund to support women’s charities in the interim period before we can tackle this on a unanimous basis across Europe.