It is obvious that sanitary products are an essential item. Unfortunately, it is EU-wide VAT rules which currently mean we cannot abolish this tax. EU-wide VAT rules are needed in order to make the single market work, but it is clear the rules have been far too inflexible
The European Commission is currently conducting a wider review of VAT rates and we expect their proposal by the end of this year. The UK Government has also made a legal commitment to abolishing this tax as soon as they are legally able. However, while the Government agrees that women's sanitary products should not be subject to VAT, the UK remains a member of the EU and until our withdrawal is complete we will continue to meet our obligations including abiding by EU VAT rules.
I am pleased that the Government has also committed to, while the tax remains, donate any proceeds to women's charities. This will amount to around £15 million each year.