Tampon Tax – Superdrug’s Campaign

tampon tax

While there has been little progress in the ‘tampon tax’ debate since Labour reduced VAT on sanitary products from 17.5% to 5% in 2000, high street drugstore Superdrug are now taking a stand.

Currently tampons are classified as a ‘luxury item’ rather than an essential and are therefore taxed accordingly. Putting that into perspective the Treasury takes £15million per year in VAT from sanitary products.

As comedian Katherine Ryan joked,

‘Now, while that does not affect me, obviously I do not use tampons, I’m a single mother not a king, it’s ridiculous.’

With such high tax on a commodity it has brought attention to non-taxed or 0% taxed ‘essential’ items such as Jaffa Cakes, Hot chocolate, Lottery tickets, Condoms, Marshmallow Teacakes, Herbal Tea, Incontinence products, Edible cake decorations, Pitta bread, Helicopters, Crocodile meat and mens razors.

Now if you buy Superdrug’s own brand of tampons and sanitary towels you will receive between 3 – 10 points on your Superdrug loyalty cards, meaning Superdrug will pay back £60,000 this year in points donations.

Gemma Mason, Superdrug head of customer service, said:

“It’s not like women choose to have periods. Britain is so far behind on this compared to some other countries. I think when you look at what other products are classed as tax-free it’s actually scary to think sanitary products aren’t classed as such. Why is an exotic item like crocodile meat free from VAT but women are still paying additional costs on these vital products? They aren’t luxury items, they are essential and I think it is unfair women are being charged more”.

There is an argument for sanitary products to be free in some form, particularly for those on a low-income. However this tax is currently the same for all, unlike income tax, meaning those who earn the least struggle the most to afford them.

MP Stella Creasy said,

“Tampons 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. It is when you start looking at what is described as a necessity and what is described as a luxury, that you see the inequalities in this debate.”

Tampon Tax Comparison –

– Canada – 0%
– Ireland – 0%
– Tanzania – 0%
– Lebanon 0%
– UK – 5%
– Australia – 10%
– France – 20%
– Greece – 23%

What are your thoughts on ‘Tampon Tax’ and Superdrug’s stance against it?



  1. Erin Russell
    2016/02/09 / 21:15

    Totally agree with you, no way should we have to pay tax on them, especially when there is so many pointless things which are tax free? I really dont understand the logic!


  2. 2016/02/10 / 03:51

    How dare women have periods! The nerve.
    Tampons are an essential not a luxury. I am going to have to google what jaffa cakes are lol.

  3. 2016/02/10 / 11:40

    It’s absolutely baffling that there is a tax on them – they are not a luxury, they are an essential item. How can a government say they should be taxed because they are luxury and then not tax incontinence products, but also have the nerve to not tax helicopters! I can’t remember the last time I NEEDED a helicopter…

    I was disappointed to learn that my MP voted to keep the tax on tampons, as did many others. I completely agree with Stella’s comments – it’s the product of an unequal society, and that’s the fault of our government.

  4. 2016/02/11 / 07:41

    I’m sorry, Jaffa Cakes aren’t taxed but tampons are? Because we choose to get periods, it’s not like it’s a biological thing that we have no control over…psh. It is actually quite sad that in this day and age there is still a problem with equality when it comes to the different sexes. Plus the fact that it comes across in subtle ways like this. I bet the majority of people had no idea sanitary items were taxed until the recent campaigning.

    Sarah’s Abode -xx

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