King’s Lynn activist calls on MP to stand up for women over ‘tampon tax’

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Jo Rust ANL-150422-085411009

Lynn News Hustings at COWA Jo Rust ANL-150422-085411009

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A Labour activist calling for zero tax on sanitary products is urging MP Sir Henry Bellingham to stand up for women.

Jo Rust has joined the fight to get the Chancellor, George Osborne, to cut the five per cent “tampon tax” charged on sanitary products.

While Mr Osborne did not abolish the tax rate, he announced that the £12 million VAT raised by this tax will go to women’s charities.

Mrs Rust says that it is appalling that women are now paying for these services which should be Government funded.

She is now calling on North West Norfolk MP Sir Henry to lodge a private members bill on this.

She said: “I think it is appalling in 2016 that we have women who are forced to use unsanitary things as a replacement of sanitary products.

“These are essential products for women as we have no option but to menstruate.

“I have previously spoke with Henry about the tampon tax and asked him to vote against it. He said he wouldn’t and didn’t.

“But it was announced this week that homeless women are using other items rather than proper products, I was appalled. I would encourage him to put forward a private members’ bill.”

Sir Henry said the Government is committed to trying to change current EU law on 
abolishing tax for these products.

He said: “We have been around the houses on this 
and although MPs are sympathetic, we do need permission from the EU to run a separate rate of tax.

“The Chancellor is doing what he can but the EU is quite clear that we would be in breach if we unilaterally got rid of it.

“We can reduce the VAT rate down to five percent but to go below that we need the support of the 28 member states.

“That is the constraint the Government faces.

“We have tried to get exemptions on this but it won’t change while we are still in this position.”

Sir Henry, who is in favour of leaving the EU, said he would look at it again if Britain votes to leave in the referendum later this year.