From the TUC

It will take more than tampons to plug the gap in women’s sector funding #SpendingReview

25 Nov 2015, by in Cuts Watch

It’s not often the TUC talks about tampons but I feel compelled to say a few words about today’s announcement that funds raised via the “tampon tax” will be spent on women’s charities.

This morning I wrote about how spending cuts are decimating the Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) charity sector. Let’s be clear, in the bleak landscape that these charities are now operating, any money is welcome, regardless of which government income stream it came from.

The first charities to benefit from George Osborne’s munificence – the Eve Appeal, Safe Lives, the Haven and Women’s Aid – are all important charities doing good work in the fields of women’s health and domestic violence. I’m glad that they will have an extra £5 million between them. They really need much, much more. As do the many much smaller charities in the women’s health and VAWG sectors who are struggling to stay afloat.

Today’s small amount of additional funding is welcome but why does the funding for these charities need to come from the much criticised “tampon tax”? Is Osborne’s logic that women’s services should be funded by women?

As Frances O’Grady pointed out, why should women’s services be paid for by an unfair tax on women’s products rather than a tax paid by men?

The fact that women are charged a VAT rate of 5% for the luxury of menstruating – or more precisely, for the luxury of not menstruating all over the place – is in itself a scandal.

Today’s announcement is an awkward and ill-thought out solution to two very real problems.