A new row has broken out over the so-called tampon tax after it emerged that a quarter of a million pounds from a controversial levy on women’s sanitary products is to be given to an anti-abortion organisation.
Some substantial number of women think that abortion is against women’s interests. As evidence the existence of the organisation itself. So, if tax is to be spent specifically upon women’s interests then why not?
But there was consternation on Saturday night among women’s groups and politicians who had campaigned on the issue after it emerged that £250,000 of that money is going to Life, a charity that campaigns against abortion and has been at the centre of controversy over the information provided by a network of unregulated pregnancy counselling centres.
A spokesperson for the End Violence Against Women Coalition said: “We are surprised to see that Life is the recipient of a very significant tampon tax grant. The government set out clearly that this money would be spent in ways that would address women’s specific needs and inequalities. It is hard to understand how a service offering counselling based on the fundamental premise that abortion is wrong, to vulnerable women, can do that.”
I thought the general view these days was that abortion is up to women and only women? And thus being anti-abortion is as much a women’s issue as being in favour of it, is it not?
Fortunately this will all go away in 2 years’ time as we’ll be out of the EU can can make tampons either zero rated or exempt, if we should choose to do so.
Although, of course, that will then be a new battle:
The government had originally faced a potential rebellion over the issue, after an amendment tabled by Sherriff won the backing of Eurosceptics keen to assert Britain’s power to set its own tax rates. Osborne had originally pledged to remove the tampon tax in November 2015, but was unable to do so due to regulations applied by the European Commission that prevented member states from doing so.
The government said on Friday that it is committed to continuing the fund until EU rules allow a zero rate of VAT to be applied to women’s sanitary products and that a decision will be made on the future of the Fund once this has been achieved.
You can already hear the screams of this withdrawal of vital funding once the original justification vanishes, can’t you?