UEA to sell tampons at cost in protest at VAT on sanitary products

Government classifies sanitation as luxury, non-essential items

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The Independent Online

The University of East Anglia student union will be the first in the country to sell sanitary products for no profit from Monday, after a Union Council motion was passed almost unanimously.

The shop will sell tampons, sanitary towels and mooncups for the same price they pay to buy them in, halving the cost of some items.

The move aims to minimise the cost of having a period, counteracting the expense caused by a rate of five per cent VAT on sanitary products, which the Government classifies as luxury, non-essential items.

The motion, proposed by Women’s Officer Dolly Ogunrinde, was met with applause and passed almost unanimously at UEA Union Council.

Dolly said: “It is a disgrace that sanitary products are being taxed at the rate of a 'luxury item' when they simply are essentials for so many women. I am proud to say that the University of East Anglia is now selling them at no profit and feel that other student unions should follow suit!”

The UEA Feminist Society also hopes that the move will be the first in a trend among university unions.

Committee member Briony Hannell said: “Not only is it financially beneficial to the students that purchase sanitary products on campus but it is also a highly significant symbolic gesture that recognises the harmful implication of the tax.”

She added: “It would be incredible to see other University Unions taking action against the taxation of sanitary products and joining us in recognising that sanitary items shouldn't be treated as ‘non-essential’.”

Society vice president and secretary Bee Bishop said: “Just like we get contraception for free we should be able to get basic health products at an affordable cost, though free would be preferable. People having to pay for having a vagina has gone on too long.”