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UKIP Has Become The First Party To Pledge To End The "Plain Stupid" Tampon Tax

A party spokesperson said that taxing women's sanitary products is "straight out of the Dark Ages".

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UKIP has become the first party to vow to remove tax on tampons and sanitary towels.

VAT is currently charged on women's sanitary products because they are categorised as "non-essential, luxury" items.

The Tories, Labour, and the Lib Dems have all refused to get rid of the levy, saying that the products are taxed at the lowest rate possible under EU law – 5%, rather than the standard 20% UK rate.

But UKIP, which wants to see Britain leave the EU, said it would end the "outdated and outrageous" tax on women.

"No other party can pledge to take this simple step, as under EU rules no item that has ever had VAT charged on it can have VAT removed completely," Suzanne Evans, UKIP's head of policy, said.

"This shows not only how ridiculous EU legislation is, but how very wrong it is that we've given our tax sovereignty over to a bunch of faceless – and mostly male – EU commissioners who simply don't understand real life, let alone real life for women.

"The rules are so daft – that you can go for a swim without paying any VAT, but you'll be charged for it on the tampon you need to wear in order to go for a swim. It's plain stupid."

The VAT on tampons and sanitary towels was cut from 17.5% to 5% in 2000 following a campaign by Labour MP Dawn Primarolo. A recent petition to remove the tax altogether has more than 215,000 signatures and is gaining momentum.

Evans said: "Taxing tampons is straight out of the Dark Ages – it is a hangover from a distant past when policymakers disregarded the interests and health of woman and it must not be allowed to continue."

Emily Ashton is a senior political correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Emily Ashton at emily.ashton@buzzfeed.com.

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