Sanitary Protection: VAT

Treasury written question – answered on 12th June 2014.

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Photo of Jim Cunningham Jim Cunningham Labour, Coventry South

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer

(1) what consideration he has given to changing the five per cent VAT rate applied to female sanitary products;

(2) for what reason HM Revenue and Customs considers female sanitary products non-essential for tax purposes; and if he will make a statement;

(3) if he will lower the VAT rate applied to female sanitary products.

Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary

A reduced rate of VAT of 5% currently applies to female sanitary products. This has been in place since 2001 and is the lowest rate possible under EU law.

The application of VAT in the EU, including rates and flexibilities afforded to member states in this regard, is governed by EU law. The Government cannot introduce a new zero rate as this would require a change to EU VAT legislation, which would require a proposal from the European Commission and the unanimous agreement of all 28 member states.

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