No luxury

“Free-bleeding” women protest tampon tax in front of U.K. Parliament

Charlie Edge and Ruth Howarth outside the Parliament building in London. (Facebook/Charlie Edge)

Women have been protesting outside Parliament in London, wearing white trousers and “free-bleeding” while having their periods, to protest the European Union’s tax on tampons.

Charlie Edge and Ruth Howarth’s undeniable demonstration on Friday drew some detractors on Facebook, to whom Edge responded, “People are so quick to tell people that the tampon tax is something we shouldn’t be upset about … But then they get upset when I show them the reality of the necessity of sanitary items.”

“Maternity pads are taxed, but incontinence pads aren’t. We’ve had enough,” Edge wrote. “Maybe bleeding on their doorstep will get the tories to do something about this?”

Sanitary products are currently classed as a “luxury item,” meaning women are charged a government fee to purchase them, on top of the costs incurred by retailers.

All 28 E.U. member states would have to agree in order for the tax to be removed. The British government has conceded only to raise the issue with other E.U. members, having controversially defeated a vote on October 26 to call outright for removing the five percent levy.

British Labour M.P. Stella Creasy addressed parliament on the issue at the time, saying, “Tampons and sanitary towels, even I’m struggling with the words tonight it seems, have always been considered a luxury. That isn’t by accident, that’s by design of an unequal society, in which the concerns of women are not treated as equally as the concerns of men.”

Comedian Russell Howard also addressed the issue on his TV show Good News Tonight [Warning: NSFW].

“Do you know the absurd thing, you pay VAT on tampons because they’re a ‘luxury’ but you don’t pay VAT on things that are considered ‘essential’.

“Well here is a list of some of the things that the taxman thinks is essential more than tampons: helicopters, bingo, Twiglets, adult nappies, flapjacks, toffee apples, edible cake decorations, a ticket to the zoo and crocodile meat.”

Read the full story at People.


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