With a second vote, the French Parliament has voted to cut the tampon tax, reducing the VAT rate on women’s sanitary products from 20 percent to 5.5 percent. While French MPs rejected the cut with a vote in March, the government has now come out in favor of changing the tax rate. French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said his government had put money aside for the cut and called it “a step in the right direction.” In the meantime, the U.K. is trying to do away completely with its own 5 percent “tampon tax” — but this is not prohibited from doing so by the European Commission, which has set 5 percent as the lowest possible tax rate on women’s sanitary products. The reason these products cannot be tax-free is because they are not deemed “essential” by the commission, unlike razors and condoms. Campaigners have highlighted the inherent sexism of this policy, and in November, U.K. Chancellor George Osborne announced that any money raised by the 5 percent tax would be transferred directly to women’s charities.
Read the full story at The Independent.